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[Sir Walter Scott.] Letters on Demonology and Witc(Bookos.org)

[Sir Walter Scott.] Letters on Demonology and Witc(Bookos.org)

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Letters on Demonology and Witchcraft

Sir Walter Scott
George Routledge ASIN: B002F4RN9K

Visual Nerve, those upon the Ear next considered — Delusions of the Touch chiefly experienced in Sleep — Delusions. of the Taste — And of the Smelling — Sum of the Argument. You have asked of me, my dear friend, that I should assist the “Family Library” with the history of a dark chapter in human nature, which the increasing civilization of all wellinstructed countries has now almost blotted out, though the subject attracted no ordinary degree of consideration in the older times of their history. Among much reading of my earlier days, it is no doubt true that I travelled a good deal in the twilight regions of superstitious disquisitions. Many hours have I lost — “I would their debt were less !” — in examining, old as well as more recent narratives of this character, and even in looking into some of the criminal trials so frequent in early days, upon a subject which our fathers considered as a matter of the last importance. And, of late years, the very curious extracts published by Mr. Pitcairn, from the Criminal Records of Scotland, are, besides their historical value, of a nature so much calculated to illustrate the credulity of our ancestors on such subjects, that, by perusing them, I have been induced more recently to recall what I bad read and thought upon the subject at a former period. As, however, my information is only miscellaneous, and I make no pretensions, either to combat the systems of those by whom I am anticipated in consideration of the subject, or to erect any new one of my own, my purpose is, after a general account of Demonology and Witchcraft, to confine myself to narratives of remarkable cases, and to the observations which naturally and easily arise out of them; — in the confidence that such a plan is, at the present time of day, more likely to suit the pages of a popular miscellany, than an attempt to reduce the contents of many hundred tomes, from the largest to the smallest size, into an abridgement, which, however compressed, must remain greatly too large for the reader's powers of patience. A few general remarks on the nature of Demonology, and the original cause of the almost universal belief in communication betwixt mortals and beings of a power superior to themselves, and of a nature not to be comprehended by human organs, are a necessary introduction to the subject. The general, or, it may be termed, the universal belief of the inhabitants of the earth, in

the existence of spirits separated from the encumbrance and incapacities of the body, is grounded on the consciousness of the divinity that speaks in our bosoms, and demonstrates to all men, except the few who are hardened to the celestial voice, that there is within us a portion of the divine substance, which is not subject to the law of death and dissolution, but which, when the body is no longer fit for its abode, shall seek its own place, as a sentinel dismissed from his post. Unaided by revelation, it cannot be hoped that mere earthly reason should be able to form any rational or precise conjecture concerning the destination of the soul when parted from the body ; but the conviction that such an indestructible essence exists, the belief expressed by the poet in a different sense, Non omnis moriar , must infer the existence of many millions of spirits who have not been annihilated, though they have become invisible to mortals who still see, hear, and perceive, only by means of the imperfect organs of humanity. Probability may lead some of the most reflecting to anticipate a state of future rewards and punishments; as those experienced in the education of the deaf and dumb find that their pupils, even while cut off from all instruction by ordinary means, have been able to farm, out of their own unassisted conjectures, some ideas of the existence of a Deity, and of the distinction between the soul and body — a circumstance which proves how naturally these truths arise in the human mind. The principle that they do so arise, being taught or communicated, leads to further conclusions. These spirits, in a state of separate existence, being admitted to exist, are not, it may be supposed, indifferent to the affairs of mortality, perhaps not incapable of influencing them. It is true that, in a more advanced state of society, the philosopher may challenge the possibility of a separate appearance of a disembodied spirit, unless in the case of a direct miracle, to which, being a suspension of the laws of nature, directly wrought by the Maker of these laws, for some express purpose, no bound or restraint can possibly be assigned. But under this necessary limitation and exception, philosophers might plausibly argue that, when the soul is divorced from the body, it loses all those qualities which made it, when clothed with a mortal shape, obvious to the organs of its fellowmen. The abstract idea of a spirit certainly implies that it has neither substance, form, shape, voice, or anything which can render its presence visible or sensible to human faculties. But these sceptic doubts of philosophers on the possibility of the appearance of such separated spirits, do not arise till a certain degree of information has dawned upon a country, and even then only reach a very small proportion of reflecting and betterinformed members of society. To the multitude, the indubitable fact, that so many millions of spirits exist around and even amongst us, seems sufficient to support the belief that they are, in certain instances at least, by some means or other, able to communicate with the world of humanity. The more numerous part of mankind cannot form in their mind the idea of the spirit of the deceased existing, without possessing or having the power to assume the appearance which their acquaintance bore during his life, and do not push their researches beyond this point. Enthusiastic feelings of an impressive and solemn nature occur both in private and

public life, which seem to add ocular testimony to an intercourse betwixt earth and the world beyond it. For example, the son who has been lately deprived of his father feels a sudden crisis approach, in which he is anxious to have recourse to his sagacious advice — or a bereaved husband earnestly desires again to behold the form of which the grave has deprived him for ever — or, to use a darker yet very common instance, the wretched man who has dipped his hand in his fellow-creature's blood, is haunted by the apprehension that the phantom of the slain stands by the bedside of his murderer. In all or any of these cases, who shall doubt that imagination, favoured by circumstances, has power to summon up to the organ of sight, spectres which only exist in the mind of those by whom their apparition seems to be witnessed? If we add, that such a vision may take place in the course of one of those lively dreams in which the patient, except in respect to the single subject of one strong impression, is, or seems, sensible of the real particulars of the scene around him, a state of slumber which often occurs; if be is so far conscious, for example, as to know that he is lying on his own bed, and surrounded by his own familiar furniture at the time when the supposed apparition is manifested, it becomes almost in vain to argue with the visionary against the reality of his dream, since the spectre, though itself purely fanciful, is inserted amidst so many circumstances which he feels must be true beyond the reach of doubt or question. That which is undeniably certain becomes, in a manner, a warrant for the reality of the appearance to which doubt would have been otherwise attached. And if any event, such as the death of the person dreamt of, chances to take place, so as to correspond with the nature and the time of the apparition, the coincidence, though one which must be frequent, since our dreams usually refer to the accomplishment of that which haunts our minds when awake, and often presage the most probable events, seems perfect, and the chain of circumstances touching the evidence may not unreasonably be considered as complete. Such a concatenation, we repeat, must frequently take place, when it is considered of what stuff dreams are made — how naturally they turn upon those who occupy our mind while awake, and, when a soldier is exposed to death in battle, when a sailor is incurring the dangers of the sea, when a beloved wife or relative is attacked by disease, how readily our sleeping imagination rushes to the very point of alarm, which when waking it had shuddered to anticipate. The number of instances in which such lively dreams have been quoted, and both asserted and received as spiritual communications, is very great at all periods; in ignorant times, where the natural cause of dreaming is misapprehended and confused with an idea of mysticism, it is much greater. Yet, perhaps, considering the many thousands of dreams which must, night after night, pass through the imagination of individuals, the number of coincidences between the vision and real event are fewer and less remarkable than a fair calculation of chances would warrant us to expect. But in countries where such presaging dreams are subjects of attention, the number of those which seemed to be coupled with the corresponding issue, is large enough to spread a very general belief of a positive communication betwixt the living and the dead.

The captain. which disposes the mind . filled it with water. He soon found that. and so forth. the weight of the evidence lay upon the statement of one of his own mates. But it is not only private life alone. that the ghost had led him to the galley. As the ship bell struck twelve. muttering to himself all the while — mixed salt in the water. the captain determined to examine the story to the bottom. A most respectable person. and a report arose that the ghost of the slain man haunted the vessel. or that tenor of thought which has been depressed into melancholy by gloomy anticipations respecting the future. but not sufficiently so to judge truly of the objects before him. whom Captain ——had no reason to suspect would wilfully deceive him. yet from which he could not withhold his eyes. or with a witness. honest. be acquiesced in his commander's reasoning. that the spectre of the murdered man appeared to him almost nightly. After a short space be arose. He sate down with his eyes open. and sensible person. He affirmed to Captain S — —with the deepest obtestations. the sleeper started up. I have forgotten. and. gave the writer an account of such an instance which came under his observation. proceeded to the galley or cook-room of the vessel. an Irishman and a Catholic. took him from his place in the vessel. and it was probable they might desert rather then return to England with the ghost for a passenger. and succeeded in getting rid of his unwelcome visitor. whose active life had been spent as master and part owner of a large merchant vessel in the Lisbon trade. but in other respects a veracious. To prevent so great a calamity. One of his crew was murdered by a Portuguese assassin. like one relieved from a heavy burden. obtained possession of some holy water. In the next morning the haunted man told the usual precise story of his apparition. and the dream. and lighting a candle. slept soundly. according to his own expression. as often happens in these cases. betwixt sleeping and waking. privately resolved to watch the motions of the ghost-seer in the night. He made these communications with a degree of horror which intimated the reality of his distress and apprehensions. with a ghastly and disturbed countenance. without any argument at the time. worried his life out. and sprinkled it about the galley. he knew not how. and. with the additional circumstances. but that be had fortunately. when he was put to great anxiety and alarm by the following incident and its consequences. The visionary was then informed of the real transactions of the night. staring before him as on some terrible object which he beheld with horror. though all pretended to have seen lights and heard noises.Somnambulism and other nocturnal deceptions frequently lend their aid to the formation of such phantasmata as are formed in this middle state. which were intelligent enough for the purpose of making him sensible where he was. and those of my friend's vessel became unwilling to remain on board the ship. he sighed deeply. which might increase his tendency to superstition. returning to his hammock. Sailors are generally superstitious. In this case. returned no more after its imposture had been detected. we find the excited imagination acting upon the half-waking senses. He was lying in the Tagus. whether alone. with so many particulars as to satisfy him he had been the dupe of his imagination. Finally. took up a tin can or decanter.

by the strict rules of cross-examination and conflicting evidence. and the issue might appear most likely to conclude in the total subjection of liberty. when one is played. and those who were themselves on the verge of the world of spirits. Castor and Pollux. approaching. act on the feelings of many men at once. with all the doubt and uncertainty of its event. the chords of the others are supposed to vibrate in unison with the tones produced.to mid-day fantasies. should be disposed to receive without doubt the idea that he had seen a real apparition. strong belief has wrought the same wonder. and confusion of ideas incident to the situation. the event had only been the renewal of civil wars. the heathen Scandinavian beheld the Choosers of the slain. and a less dignified occasion. allowing that his own imagination supplied that part of his dialogue with the spectre. of which. showing them the way to conquest. or employed in dispatching others to these gloomy regions. since. that although no one saw the figure but himself. should at length place before his eyes in person the appearance which termed itself his evil genius. though by the slaughter of his own friend. or to nightly apparitions — a state of eager anxiety. It is not miraculous that the masculine spirit of Marcus Brutus. the usual matter of which dreams consist. and was not likely to scrutinize very minutely the supposed vision. and the conviction that it must involve his own fate and that of his country. or excited exertion. there is nothing else which might not be fashioned in a vivid dream or a waking reverie. When the common feeling of danger. In such moments of undecided battle. as it is said is the case with stringed instruments tuned to the same pitch. Such apparitions being generally visible to a multitude. conceived they beheld the apparitions of those beings whom their national mythology associated with such scenes. The anticipation of a dubious battle. If an artful or . distracted probably by recollection of the kindness and favour of the great individual whom he bad put to death to avenge the wrongs of his country. and his knowledge of the military art. surrounded by darkness and solitude. had probably long since assured him that the decision of the civil war must take place at or near that place. the ancients supposed that they saw their deities. in absorbing and engrossing character. and. Brutus own intentions. That Brutus. and amid the mortal tug of combat itself. fighting in the van for their encouragement. Even in the field of death. respecting whose death he perhaps thought himself less justified than at the Ides of March. is equally favourable to the indulgence of such supernatural communications. which they might have thought applicable to another person. was powerful enough to conjure up to the anxious eye of Brutus the spectre of his murdered friend Caesar. have in all times been supported by the greatest strength of testimony. and it is also natural to think. their minds hold a natural correspondence with each other. his contemporaries were little disposed to examine the testimony of a man so eminent. amid the violence. well acquainted with the opinions of the Platonists. which we have hitherto mentioned as occurring in solitude and amid darkness. and the animating burst of enthusiasm. hurry. and promised again to meet him at Philippi. and the Catholics were no less easily led to recognize the warlike Saint George or Saint James in the very front of the strife. may be naturally conceived. instead of having achieved the freedom of Rome.

held for the purpose of a sign and warning of civil wars to come. the reality of which he unscrupulously adopts on the testimony of others. One warrior catches the idea from another. Peter Walker. nay. at the same time. the number of persons present. to see as much of the supernatural as is seen by others around. The conversion of the sceptical gentleman of whom he speaks is highly illustrative of popular credulity carried away into enthusiasm. from the first. But instead of proceeding to draw the necessary inference. rather than allow that they did not witness the same favourable emblem. to trust to the eyes of others rather than to our own. that he perceives an apparition of the romantic kind which has been intimated. . which do not appear to have been seen in Scotland so frequently as to be accounted a common and familiar atmospherical phenomenon. since the general excitement of the moment impels even the more cold-blooded and judicious persons present to catch up the ideas and echo the exclamations of the majority.' In such cases. that he beheld an individual cavalier. one of the companions of the celebrated Cortez in his Mexican conquest. he mentions the report inserted in the contemporary Chronicle of Gomara. Of this disposition. mounted on a chestnut horse. that Saint Iago had appeared on a white horse in van of the combat. the devout Conquestador exclaims — ” Sinner that I am. the cause of which he explains from his own observation. The honest Conquestador owns that he himself did not see this animating vision . and the ease with which it is procured. named Francisco de Morla. all are alike eager to acknowledge the present miracle. or the northern lights. was a man of credit. we may take the liberty to quote two remarkable instances. and fighting strenuously in the very place where Saint James is said to have appeared. by the evidence of those around. who. and at once shows the imperfection of such a general testimony. had considered the heavenly phenomenon as a supernatural weapon-schaw. and the battle is won before the mistake is discovered. he does not venture to disown the miracle. what am I that I should have beheld the blessed apostle!” The other instance of the infectious character of superstition occurs in a Scottish book. in other words. whilst. The first is from the ” Historia Verdadera” of Don Bernal Dias del Castillo. and most are willing to sacrifice the conviction of their own senses. It is very curious to observe the Castilian cavalier's internal conviction that the rumour arose out of a mistake. and there can be little doubt that it refers. becomes the means of strengthening it. until the beginning of the eighteenth century. and led on his beloved Spaniards to victory. though an enthusiast. or. his companions catch at the idea with emulation. to whose eyes lie trusted rather than to his own. After having given an account of a great victory over extreme odds. from which all draw confidence and hope. for the narrator. in the heat of action. The passage is striking and curious. in its first origin. and does not even affect to have seen the wonders.enthusiastic individual exclaims. to some uncommon appearance of the aurora borealis. or into imposture. which would otherwise lead to detection of the fallacy.

and having attracted the attention of those who looked at him by muttering. ' All you that do not see. they possessed the ordinary capacity of ascertaining the truth or discerning the falsehood of external appearances by an appeal to the organ of sight. as I observed. and a third that saw not. that was discernible to all from those that saw not.' and immediately there was a discernible change in his countenance. black or blue.e. especially at the Mains. may be compared with the exploit of the humourist. Unfortunately. This frightful disorder is not properly insanity. and. “ many yet alive can witness that about the Crossford Boat. we have supposed that the ghost-seer has been in full possession of his ordinary powers of perception. On such occasions as we have hitherto mentioned. if real. some conceiving that they had absolutely seen the lion of Percy wag his tail. there certainly exists more than one disorder known to professional men of which one important symptom is a disposition to see apparitions. and then all falling to the ground and disappearing. on the water of Clyde. companies meeting companies. and. in which a multitude believed. although only two-thirds of them saw what must.”* This singular phenomenon. and what handles the swords had.' And those who did see told what works (i. locks) the guns had. . whenever they went abroad. as is now universally known and admitted. With as much fear and trembling as any woman I saw there.” says the honest chronicler. companies of men in arms marching in order upon the waterside. have been equally obvious to all. unless in the case of dreamers. and discernible to all that is not stone-blind. many people gathered together for several afternoons. for I persuade you it is matter of fact. however. guns. he called out. and those who did see them there. 'A pack of damned witches and warlocks that have the second sight! the devil ha't do I see. with his eyes riveted on the well-known bronze lion that graces the front of Northumberland House in the Strand. and their length and wideness. where there were showers of bonnets. who planted himself in an attitude of astonishment. and swords. though I could see nothing. there was such a fright and trembling on those that did see. others expecting to witness the same phenomenon. going all through other. There was a gentleman standing next to me who spoke as too many gentlemen and others speak. saw a bonnet and a sword drop in the way. say nothing. who said. bats. “ By heaven it wags! it wags again !” contrived in a few minutes to blockade the whole street with an immense crowd. in the months of June and July. and the closing knots of the bonnets. there were twothirds of the people that were together saw. In other respects their blood beat temperately. whether small or three-barr'd. or Highland guards.“ In the year 1686. two miles beneath Lanark. I went there three afternoons together. which covered the trees and the ground. other companies immediately appeared. marching the same way. and the possibility of correcting vagaries of the imagination rendered more difficult by want of the ordinary appeal to the evidence of the bodily senses. although it is somewhat allied to that . in whom they may have been obscured by temporary slumber.

and would indeed have confounded most bons vivants.” This dilemma could be no great wonder to the friend to whom the poor patient communicated it. the mind of the patient is principally affected. instances of which mental disorder may be . therefore. and pervert the external form of objects.” were indignant at the attempt to impose boiled oatmeal upon them. Here. He did not see much company — but he daily received visits from the first characters in the renowned medical school of this city. deluded in other. The house. which. and he contrived to account for all that seemed inconsistent with his imaginary right of property — there were many patients in it. and may. or organic system. while the senses. contrary to that of the maniac. only the patients go a step further. But the disorder to which I previously alluded is entirely of a bodily character. offer in vain to the lunatic their decided testimony against the fantasy of a deranged imagination. was his own. have agreed that it actually occurs. it is not the mind. like Lord Peter's brethren in ” The Tale of a Tub. He went little. and is occasioned by different causes. With so many supposed comforts around him — with so many visions of wealth and splendour — one thing alone disturbed the peace of the poor optimist. which present to the patient a set of spectres or appearances which have no actual existence. bad every day a dinner of three regular courses and a dessert . The poor man's malady had taken a gay turn. choice in his selection of cooks. and yet. is one instance of actual insanity. become subject to what is popularly called the Blue Devils. or rather the imagination. somehow or other. which imposes upon and overpowers the evidence of the senses. and he could not therefore be much in want of society. Perhaps the nature of this collision — between a disturbed imagination and organs of sense possessed of their usual accuracy — cannot be better described than in the embarrassment expressed by an insane patient confined in the Infirmary of Edinburgh. who knew the lunatic eat nothing but this simple aliment at any of his meals. be the means of bringing it oil. or rather never abroad — but then his habits were of a domestic and rather sedentary character. The disease lay in the extreme vivacity of the patient's imagination. The case was obvious. and consists principally in a disease of the visual organs. who have given their attestations to the existence of this most distressing complaint. therefore.most horrible of maladies. yet not absolutely powerful enough to contend with the honest evidence of his stomach and palate. It is a disease of the same nature which renders many men incapable of distinguishing colours. but that was owing to the benevolence of his nature. The difference I conceive to be that. in cases of insanity. everything he eat tasted of porridge. in many constitutions. In their case.” he said. by a continued series of intoxication. instead of such a banquet as Ude would have displayed when peers were to partake of it. The most frequent source of the malady is in the dissipated and intemperate habits of those who. and although such hallucinations are proper to both. in which the sense of taste controlled and attempted to restrain the ideal hypothesis adopted by a deranged imagination. in his idea. “in his table. ” He was curious. but the sense of seeing (or bearing) which betrays its duty and conveys false ideas to a sane intellect More than one learned physician. which made him love to see the relief of distress. instances.

But. Apparitions of the most unpleasant appearance are his companions in solitude. He therefore prescribed a gentle course of medicine. after the interval of a month. at least. who performed in his drawing-room a singular dance. than the former delusion returned in full force : the green figurantes . “ Here we all are — here we all are !” The visionary. that he retired abroad. alas ! no sooner had the furniture of the London drawing-room been placed in order in the gallery of the old manor-house. and prospered. One would have supposed this a well-devised scheme for health. and grey. the former. on the same principle avoiding fatigue. while the furniture was to be sent down to his residence in the country. and that they may perhaps arise not only from the debility of stomach brought on by excess in wine or spirits. to his great annoyance. and assured him that by doing so he might bid adieu to black spirits and white. A young man of fortune. observe a temperate diet and early hours. blue. There is reason to believe that such cases are numerous. in despair that any part of Britain could shelter him from the daily persecution of this domestic ballet. in time disappear. came capering and frisking to accompany them. as if the sufferer should have been rejoiced to see them. but also because the mind becomes habitually predominated over by a train of fantastic visions. practising regular exercise. One of his principal complaints was the frequent presence of a set of apparitions. and are supplied by frightful impressions and scenes. received a grateful letter from him. which destroy the tranquillity of the unhappy debauchee. that the whole corps de ballet existed only in his own imagination. His physician immediately informed him that he had lived upon town too long and too fast not to require an exchange to a more healthy and natural course of life. the mind is cleared of these frightful ideas. by intoxication when the habit is first acquired. The joyous visions suggested. if I recollect right. The patient observed the advice. the . His physician. with all their trumpery. whom the patient's depraved imagination had so long associated with these moveables. resembling a band of figures dressed in green. and the patient had ordered his town-house to be disfurnished and sold. was so much shocked at their appearance. which derangement often sensibly affects the eyes and sense of sight. exclaiming with great glee. green. acknowledging the success of his regimen. it requires but the slightest renewal of the association to bring back the full tide of misery upon the repentant libertine. was at length obliged to consult the physician upon the means of restoring.known to most who have lived for any period of their lives in society where hard drinking was a common vice. Of this the following instance was told to the author by a gentleman connected with the sufferer. and intrude even upon his hours of society: and when by an alteration of habits. though he knew. The greens goblins had disappeared. but earnestly recommended to his patient to retire to his own house in the country. where he was determined in future to spend his life. who had led what is called so gay a life as considerably to injure both his health and fortune. without exposing himself to the temptations of town. and with them the unpleasant train of emotions to which their visits had given rise. to which he was compelled to bear witness.

Dr. This gentleman was not a man merely of books. faded. The depression of spirits which was occasioned by these unpleasant occurrences. That such illnesses have been experienced. The learned and acute Dr. like a dislocated joint. from having been. or it may be more properly said frequented. This state of health brought on the disposition to see phantasmata . who visited. or its various substitutes. as he remained convinced from the beginning to the end of the disorder. and some use of medicine. that these singular effects were merely symptoms of the state of his health. Nicolai. would probably be found to occasion this species of disorder. Very frequent use of the nitrous oxide which affects the senses so strongly. Hibbert. presenting crowds of persons who moved and acted before him. the phantoms became less distinct in their outline. and had the moral courage to lay before the Philosophical Society of Berlin an account of his own sufferings. though it is by no means to be inferred. the celebrated bookseller of Berlin. must expose those who practise the dangerous custom to the same inconvenience. on all occasions. and produces a short but singular state of ecstasy. After a certain time. as opium. there can be no doubt. less vivid in their colouring. and others who have assumed Demonology as a subject. The case of Nicolai has unquestionably been that of many whose love of science has not been able to overcome their natural reluctance to communicate to the public the particulars attending the visitation of a disease so peculiar. namely. but of letters. subjected to a series of spectral illusions. and at length totally disappeared. as it were. on the eye of the patient. nay. even when a different cause occasions the derangement. But there are many other causes which medical men find attended with the same symptom. apt again to go wrong. was aided by the consequences of neglecting a course of periodical bleeding which he had been accustomed to observe. and did not in any other respect regard them as a subject of apprehension. . that the symptom of importance to our present discussion has. These phantoms afforded nothing unpleasant to the imagination of the visionary either in sight or expression. that of Mons. even spoke to and addressed him. doubtless. as it may be called. and is thus. Ferriar. This persecution of spectral deceptions is also found to exist when no excesses of the patient can be alleged as the cause.consequence of frequent intoxication. and the patient was possessed of too much firmness to be otherwise affected by their presence than with a species of curiosity. to a deranged state of the blood or nervous system. the apartments of the learned bookseller. as it has been repeatedly before the public. Ferriar of Manchester was the first who brought before the English public the leading case. owing. and have ended fatally. by disease. It is easy to be supposed that habitual excitement by means of any other intoxicating drug. and is insisted on by Dr. in this department. Nicolai traces his illness remotely to a series of disagreeable incidents which had happened to him in the beginning of the year 1791. The leading circumstances of this case may be stated very shortly. of embodying before the eyes of a patient imaginary illusions which are visible to no one else. been produced from the same identical cause.

and . “I am in the habit. flies wide open. And such is my new and singular complaint. I will dine with you to-day. He was answered in the negative. in particular. as in the case of the learned Prussian we have just mentioned. it is understood. to keep the attention of his host engaged. which I have sometimes done. she rushes upon me. who suspected some nervous disorder. was so singular. he said. Gregory. or even to mental derangement. like one of those who haunted the heath of Forres.” The doctor immediately asked whether his patient had invited any one to sit with him when he expected such a visitation. The nature of the complaint. who has most ingeniously. and a precision of detail to which our superficial investigation affords us no room for extending ourselves. an old hag. a person. and in others with the effects of excitation produced by several gases. well known to be of the most varied and brilliant character. which is of longer or shorter endurance. They met at dinner.” he said. and sometimes. and exactly as the hour of six arrives I am subjected to the following painful visitation. to the author's best recollection. “with your permission. that the symptom occurs not only in plethora. says something. Gregory.” — said the doctor. I fall from my chair in a swoon. quoted by him in his lectures. “Then. The narrative. it was so likely to be imputed to fancy.Dr. having requested the doctor's advice. handled this subject. made the following extraordinary statement of his complaint. and then strikes me a severe blow with her staff. but so hastily that I cannot discover the purport. The door of the room. and that of a dangerous kind. Gregory of Edinburgh. “ of dining at five. comes straight up to me with every demonstration of spite and indignation which could characterize her who haunted the merchant Abudah in the Oriental tale. though inaccurate as a medical definition. with which this symptom is ready to ally itself. and Dr. In all these cases there seems to be a morbid degree of sensibility. Hibbert has recorded of the spectral illusion with an actual disorder. of some rank. Hibbert. and which. even when I have been weak enough to bolt it. has treated it also in a medical point of view. may be held sufficiently descriptive of one character of the various kinds of disorder with which this painful symptom may be found allied. and we will see if your malignant old woman will venture to join our company. The visitation of spectral phenomena is described by this learned gentleman as incidental to sundry complaints. for he had expected ridicule rather than sympathy. exerted his powers of conversation. and he mentions. A very singular and interesting illustration of such combinations as Dr. that he bad shrunk from communicating the circumstance to anyone. was frequently related in society by the late learned and accomplished Dr. as well as philosophically. enters with a frowning and incensed countenance. tete-a-tete . was as follows: — A patient of Dr. To the recurrence of this apparition I am daily subjected.” The patient accepted the proposal with hope and gratitude. with science to which we make no pretence. but is a frequent hectic symptom — often an associate of febrile and inflammatory disordersfrequently accompanying inflammation of the brain-a concomitant also of highly excited nervous irritability — equally connected with hypochondria — and finally united in some cases with gout. I believe.

of course. of a duel. is usually formed and perfect before the second effort of the speaker has restored the dreamer to the waking world and its realities. which often placed the property of others at his discretion and control. as I understand. The hour of six came almost unnoticed. to which he was accustomed to look forward with so much terror. — is the dreamer wandering among supposed ruins. which the patient's morbid imagination may introduce into the dream preceding the swoon. the noise is that of the fall of some part of the mass. The physician caused him to be let blood. but it was scarce a moment struck when the owner of the house exclaimed. in an alarmed voice. that any sudden noise which the slumberer hears. was communicated to the author by the medical man under whose observation it fell. and accommodated to the tenor of the current train of thought. as well as his attainments in science and philosophy. — is an orator haranguing in his sleep. high in a particular department of the law. even when scarce a moment of time is allowed for that purpose. In the nightmare an oppression and suffocation is felt. and our fancy instantly conjures up a spectre to lie on our bosom. and . an explanatory system is adopted during sleep with such extreme rapidity. or nightmare. and equally remarkable instance. So rapid and intuitive is the succession of ideas in sleep. the rank which he holds in his profession. It was the fortune of this gentleman to be called in to attend the illness of a person now long deceased. though the jar of water which fell when his ecstasy commenced. the sound becomes the applause of his supposed audience. “The hag comes again !” and dropped back in his chair in a swoon. in which he saw the whole wonders of heaven and hell. the external sound becomes. the discharge of the combatants' pistols. the explanation. The phantom with the crutch was only a species of machinery. for example. A second. In dreaming. In like manner it may be remarked. such as that with which fancy is found to supply the disorder called Ephialtes . Of the friend by whom the facts were attested I can only say. that supposing the intruding alarm to have been the first call of some person to awaken the slumberer. that if I found myself at liberty to name him. in the way lie had himself described. desirous to keep private the name of the hero of so singular a history. though requiring some process of argument or deduction. and nothing is more remarkable than the rapidity with which imagination supplies a complete explanation of the interruption. who in his lifetime stood. He succeeded in his purpose better than he bad hoped. and it was hoped might pass away without any evil consequence. without being actually awakened by it — any casual touch of his person occurring in the same manner — becomes instantly adopted in his dream. and satisfied himself that the periodical shocks of which his patient complained arose from a tendency to apoplexy. In short. had not spilled its contents when he returned to ordinary existence. as to remind us of the vision of the prophet Mahommed. whatever that may happen to be. but who was. form an undisputed claim to the most implicit credit. in the twinkling of an eye. or indeed any other external impression upon our organs in sleep.prevent him from thinking on the approach of the fated hour. according to the previous train of ideas expressed in the dream.

if you did. So far as they knew — and they thought they could hardly be deceived — his worldly affairs were prosperous. and constant depression of spirits. induced my friend to take other methods for prosecuting his inquiries. that I am in the course of dying under the oppression of the fatal disease which consumes my vital powers. He specially pressed upon him the injury which he was doing to his own character. and no sensation of severe remorse could be consistent with his character. or depression of mind. it is impossible for either of us to say what may or may not be in my power. therefore. absence of appetite. good sense. could your zeal and skill avail to rid me of it. more moved by this species of appeal than by any which had yet been urged.” replied the patient. of which those unacquainted with its powers never can form an estimate. seemed to draw their origin from some hidden cause. to the conduct of important affairs intrusted to him. Every one else was removed. apparently with all its usual strength and energy. “ that my skill may not equal my wish of serving you. to a superficial observer. no family loss had occurred which could be followed with such persevering distress. that could argue vacillation of intellect. arid integrity. He was. by suffering it to be inferred that the secret cause of his dejection and its consequences was something too scandalous or flagitious to be made known.” — ” It is possible. rather than tell the subject of affliction which was thus wasting him. or within that of medicine. and leaving a memory with which might be associated the idea of guilt. confined principally to his sick-room.whose conduct. He applied to the sufferer's family. expressed his desire to speak out frankly to Dr. he had for many years borne the character of a man of unusual steadiness. the source of that secret grief which was gnawing the heart and sucking the life-blood of his unfortunate patient. which he could not conceal from his friendly physician — the briefness and obvious constraint with which he answered the interrogations of his medical adviser. The patient. after conversing together previously. being open to public observation. difficulty of digestion. bequeathing in this manner to his family a suspected and dishonoured name. His outward symptoms of malady argued no acute or alarming disease. be more conscious than I. and exerting his mind. denied all knowledge of any cause for the burden which obviously affected their relative. no entanglements of affection could be supposed to apply to his age. “ that my case is not a Singular . The medical gentleman had finally recourse to serious argument with the invalid himself. sometimes to bed. I fear. But slowness of pulse. yet occasionally attending to business. at the time of my friend's visits. when he began his confession in the following manner : — “ You cannot. and manner in which it acts upon me. The deep gloom of the unfortunate gentleman — the embarrassment. — . which the criminal had died without confessing. appear anything in his conduct. and urged to him the folly of devoting himself to a lingering and melancholy death. The persons applied to. nor did there. if possible. while so engaged. nor. and the door of the sick-room made secure. my dear friend. But until you plainly tell me your symptoms of complaint. to learn.” said the physician.” — ” I may answer you. yet medical science has many resources. but neither can you understand the nature of my complaint. which the patient was determined to conceal.

till the truth was finally forced upon me. and at first not of a terrible or even disagreeable character. as if to announce me in the drawing-room. and I am sensible I am dying. within the course of a few months. dressed as if to wait upon a Lord Lieutenant of Ireland. or was succeeded by. To illustrate this. doubtless.” he said. ascended the stairs before me. as it seemed. but died. a wasted victim to an imaginary disease. and endured with so much equanimity the presence of my imaginary attendant. though it led me to entertain doubts on the nature of my disorder and alarm for the effect it might produce on my intellects. against an attack so irregular. to the actual existence of which he gave no credit. my dearest doctor. because he was overcome and heart-broken by its imaginary presence. and at sometimes appeared to mingle with the company. it gave place to. Still I had not that positive objection to the animal entertained by a late gallant Highland chieftain. secured. “ This personage. “ commenced two or three years since. by strong powers of the understanding. contented himself with more minute inquiry into the nature of the apparition with which be conceived himself haunted. the disease of which the Duke d'Olivarez is there stated to have died?” — “Of the idea. which had no existence save in my deranged visual organs or depraved imagination. This freak of the fancy did not produce much impression on me. since we read of it in the famous novel of Le Sage. nevertheless. and into the history of the mode by which so singular a disease had made itself master of his imagination. even though he did not see it. This was no other than the apparition of a gentleman-usher. with bag and sword. whether in my own house or in another. though it was sufficiently evident that they were not aware of his presence. The sick person replied by stating that its advances were gradual. and chapeau-bras. a Lord High Commissioner of the Kirk. he gave the following account of the progress of his disease: — “ My visions. and for the present judiciously avoiding any contradiction of the sick man's preconceived fancy. but as a bubble of the elements. tamboured waistcoat. and that I alone was sensible of the visionary honours which this imaginary being seemed desirous to render me. glided beside me like the ghost of Beau Nash. I am rather a friend to cats. On the contrary.” — ” I. . You remember.one. But that modification of my disease also had its appointed duration. a spectre of a more important sort. which came and disappeared I could not exactly tell how.” The medical gentleman listened with anxiety to his patient's statement. that my reason is totally inadequate to combat the effects of my morbid imagination. and so painful and abhorrent is the presence of the persecuting vision. or any other who bears on his brow the rank and stamp of delegated sovereignty.” said the sick man. “ am in that very case. arrayed in a court dress. when I found myself from time to time embarrassed by the presence of a large cat. when. and. and I was compelled to regard it as no domestic household cat. who has been seen to change to all the colours of his own plaid if a cat by accident happened to be in the room with him. that it had become almost indifferent to me. or which at least had a more imposing appearance. “ that he was haunted by an apparition.” answered the medical gentleman.

” Accordingly. and shook his head negatively. but with equally indifferent success.” said the unfortunate invalid. though in fancy only. Alone or in company. has no cure for such a disorder.” The physician was distressed to perceive.” ” Then I understand. that the ideal spectre was close to his own person. He resorted to other means of investigation and cure. philosophy. “ seems to you to be always present to your eyes?” ” It is my fate. “ because your person is betwixt him and me. to my thinking. even when its fantastic terrors cannot overcome the intellect. despite philosophy. and convince yourself of the illusion?” The poor man sighed. with such minuteness. and while I feel myself. so strongly into the field as might combat successfully the fantastic disorder which produced such fatal effects.After a few months the phantom of the gentleman-usher was seen no more. but merely an image summoned up by the morbid acuteness of my own excited imagination and deranged organs of sight. which seemed to be unimpaired. on receiving an answer ascertaining. “ always to see it.” ” You say you are sensible of the delusion. into such contradictions and inconsistencies as might bring his common-sense. while the emblem at once and presage of mortality is before my eyes. I in vain tell myself a hundred times over that it is no reality.” replied the patient.” answered the invalid. and fills the vacant space. “ Immediately at the foot of my bed. But what avail such reflections. and died in the same distress of mind in which he had spent the latter months of his life. “ we will try the experiment otherwise. even religion. and I feel too surely that I shall die the victim to so melancholy a disease. “ Well. asked if the spectre was still visible? ” Not entirely so.” It is alleged the man of science started on the instant. from these details. and placing himself between the two half-drawn curtains at the foot of the bed.” said the doctor. even while I yet breathe on the earth? Science. the companion of a phantom representing a ghastly inhabitant of the grave. “ This skeleton. When the curtains are left a little open. is placed between them. trusting he might lead him. although I have no belief whatever in the reality of the phantom which it places before me. who was then in bed. being no other than the image of death itself — the apparition of a skeleton . ” have you firmness to convince yourself of the truth of this? Can you take courage enough to rise and place yourself in the spot so seeming to be occupied. then. but I observe his skull peering above your shoulder. unhappily. he rose from his chair by the bedside. and his case remains a melancholy instance of the power of imagination to kill the body.” answered the invalid. The patient sunk into deeper and deeper dejection. “ the skeleton. but was succeeded by one horrible to the sight and distressing to the imagination. “ it is now present to your imagination?” ” To my imagination it certainly is so. “ the presence of this last phantom never quits me. with questions concerning the circumstances of the phantom's appearance. . “ And in what part of the chamber do you now conceive the apparition to appear?” the physician inquired. indicated as the place occupied by the apparition. how strongly this visionary apparition was fixed in the imagination of his patient.” said his friend. as a sensible man. of the unfortunate persons who suffer under them.” said the doctor.” replied the sick man.” continued the physician. He ingeniously urged the sick man.

The same species of organic derangement which. by his death and last illness. has not taken time or trouble to correct his first impressions. and other writers who have more recently considered the subject. for a brief or almost momentary space.The patient. there can. in the present case. and their character being once investigated. I have seen too many myself. and respected as a man of an habitually serious. simple. a proof the more difficult to be disputed if the phantom has been personally witnessed by a man of sense and estimation. Gleditsch being obliged to traverse the . Thiebault in his ” Recollections of Frederick the Great and the Court of Berlin. lose any of his well-merited reputation for prudence and sagacity which had attended him during the whole course of his life. or of the imagination. sunk under his malady. and tranquil character.* M. become so much deranged as to make false representations to the mind. he did not. we think. in a more primitive state of society. may be admitted as direct evidence of a supernatural apparition. whether through the action of the senses. Transitory deceptions are thus presented to the organs which. Having added these two remarkable instances to the general train of similar facts quoted by Ferriar.” I may mention one or two instances of the kind. be little doubt of the proposition. perhaps satisfied in the general as to the actual existence of apparitions. But in ignorant times those instances in which any object is misrepresented. but is thus stated by M. was a botanist of eminence. may occupy. in the literal sense. to which no doubt can be attached. who. madam. Gleditsch. and that. This species of deception is so frequent that one of the greatest poets of the present time answered a lady who asked him if he believed in ghosts: — ” No. by his own powers of argument. holding the professorship of natural philosophy at Berlin. In such unhappy cases the patient is intellectually in the condition of a general whose spies have been bribed by the enemy. But there is a corollary to this proposition. from various causes. and the circumstances of his singular disorder remaining concealed. the probability of the reports which are too inconsistent to be trusted to. and who must engage himself in the difficult and delicate task of examining and correcting. the true takes the place of the unreal representation. for however short a space of time. the vision of men who are otherwise perfectly clear-sighted. A short time after the death of Maupertuis.” It is necessary to premise that M. when they occur to men of strength of mind and of education. men. in such cases. that the external organs may. are naturally enough referred to the action of demons or disembodied spirits. really see the empty and false forms and hear the ideal sounds which. This extraordinary circumstance appeared in the Transactions of the Society. his gentleman-usher. to whom the circumstance happened. The first shall be the apparition of Maupertuis to a brother professor in the Royal Society of Berlin. presented the subject of our last tale with the successive apparitions of his cat. and the fatal skeleton. as a continued habit of his deranged vision. or the combined influence of both. which is worthy of notice. give way to scrutiny. Hibbert.

he saw in the room the figure of the absent confessor. This was about three o'clock. which appeared to retreat gradually before him. These occupied him till the hour of retiring to bed. but bred in the Irish Brigade. with whom to be ridiculous was to be worthless — we can hardly wonder at the imagination even of a man of physical science calling up his Eidolon in the hall of his former greatness. and it was then the following circumstance took place. when. Captain C — — was a native of Britain. ascertaining thus. To ascertain positively the nature of the apparition. having some arrangements to make in the cabinet of natural history. He regarded the apparition in no other light than as a phantom produced by some derangement of his own proper organs. once the scene of his triumphs — overwhelmed by the petulant ridicule of Voltaire. he . push his investigation to the point to which it was carried by a gallant soldier. without stopping longer than to ascertain exactly the appearance of that object. who had died at Bâle. but received no answer — the eyes alone were impressed by the appearance. and being willing to complete them on the Thursday before the meeting. When it is recollected that Maupertuis died at a distance from Berlin. M. the soldier himself sate down on the same chair. however. and assured them that it was as defined and perfect as the actual person of Maupertuis could have presented. But be related the vision to his brethren. had his friend died about the same time. the apparition of M. his penitent had the misfortune to find him very ill from a dangerous complaint. He retired in great distress and apprehension of his friend's life. and remain there in a sitting posture. He was a man of the most dauntless courage. After the King's death he came over to England. on entering the hall. On riding over one morning to see this gentleman. His confessor was a clergyman who was residing as chaplain to a man of rank in the west of England. and out of favour with Frederick. having his eyes fixed on him. Bernoulhe. in the first angle on his left hand. beyond question. in the family of Messrs.hall in which the Academy held its sittings. he perceived. from whose mouth a particular friend of the author received the following circumstances of a similar story. sincerely attached to the duties of his religion. and the feeling brought back upon him many other painful and disagreeable recollections. which was under his charge. afternoon. to his great astonishment. Captain C — — advanced on the phantom. in his hour of adversity at least. about four miles from the place where Captain C — — lived. could have found his way back to Berlin in person. yet he owned that. and. that the whole was illusion. He addressed it. Captain C — — was a Catholic. The professor of natural philosophy was too well acquainted with physical science to suppose that his late president. The sober-minded professor did not. being repeatedly employed by the royal family in very dangerous commissions. In this manner he followed it round the bed. when it seemed to sink down on an elbow-chair. upright and stationary. Gleditsch went to his own business. de Maupertuis. which he displayed in some uncommonly desperate adventures during the first years of the French Revolution. Determined to push the matter to the end.

occupied by great-coats. and. he felt no sentiment save that of wonder at the extraordinary accuracy of the resemblance. He stopped for a single moment. and tell his young friend under what a striking hallucination he had for a moment laboured. of the delusion. and endeavoured. But this was beyond his capacity. and the like. they are almost certain to be considered as real supernatural appearances. But as the confessor recovered. whose recollection had been so strongly brought to his imagination. with all his power. Their sitting-room opened into an entrance-hall.would not well have known what name to give to his vision. and others formerly noticed. There is every reason to believe that instances of this kind are frequent among persons of a certain temperament. through which the moon was beginning to shine. Sensible. and stepped onwards towards the figure. he was deeply interested in the publication. as he approached. It was when laying down his book. plaids. who had filled. more properly. to whom the deceased had been well known. to recall the image which had been so singularly vivid. since they accord much better with our idea of . rather fantastically fitted up with articles of armour. are of the latter character. As the reader had enjoyed the intimacy of the deceased to a considerable degree. and constituting no habitual or constitutional derangement of the system. right before him. “ nothing came of it. a great station in the eye of the public. into the various materials of which it was composed. They differ from those of Nicolai. and in a standing posture. as we may say. which resolved itself. The apparition of Maupertuis to Monsieur Gleditsch. had only to return into the apartment. in perusing one of the publications which professed to detail the habits and opinions of the distinguished individual who was now no more. we do not give the names of the parties. even for this very reason. as being of short duration. whose excited state had been the means of raising it. shawls. which a sudden and temporary fever-fit has to a serious feverish illness. during the darkening twilight of an autumn evening. for certain reasons. These were merely a screen. that of the Catholic clergyman to Captain C — — . Another illusion of the same nature we have the best reason for vouching as a fact. was engaged. the exact representation of his departed friend. so as to notice the wonderful accuracy with which fancy had impressed upon the bodily eye the peculiarities of dress and posture of the illustrious poet. Johnson's phrase. though. and the person who had witnessed the apparition. however. it is more difficult to bring such momentary impressions back to their real sphere of optical illusions. that of a late poet to his friend. and such other articles as usually are found in a country entrance-hall. a literary friend. which contained some particulars relating to himself and other friends. and when such occur in an early period of society. while living.” the incident was only remarkable as showing that men of the strongest nerves are not exempted from such delusions. and passing into this hall. Not long after the death of a late illustrious poet. A visitor was sitting in the apartment. or. who was also engaged in reading. that the individual of whom I speak saw. skins of wild animals. in Dr. The spectator returned to the spot from which he had seen the illusion. But. They bear to the former the analogy.

in such cases. than in those which arise from his being waked from sleep by some one calling his name in the solitary island. we must remark that the eye is the organ most essential to the purpose of realizing to our mind the appearance of external objects. in their turn. or probably some deceased. To the excited and imperfect state of the ear we owe the existence of what Milton sublimely calls — The airy tongues that syllable men's names. It is unnecessary to dwell on this sort of auricular deception. days. and wildernesses. in regard to the ear. A whole class of superstitious observances arise. On shores. while he was opening the door of his college chambers. Sometimes the aerial summoner intimated his own death. The following may he stated as one . instead of informing. to retain false or doubtful impressions. are as ready. as one doomed to do so. and are grounded upon inaccurate and imperfect hearing. call him by his name. wastes away and dies. that we do not sympathize more readily with Robinson Crusoe's apprehensions when he witnesses the print of the savage's foot in the sand. the party to whom they are addressed. and to a farther or more limited extent. died in consequence. It may be remarked also. These also appear such natural causes of alarm. its misrepresentation of the objects of sight is peculiarly apt to terminate in such hallucinations as those we have been detailing. whose name is put into the famous cursing well. Thus. affording opportunities of discovering. or the Cambro-Briton. Before concluding these observations upon the deceptions of the senses. — for the same reason that the negro pines to death who is laid under the ban of an Obi woman. The voice of some absent. Amidst the train of superstitions deduced from the imperfections of the ear. and that when the visual organ becomes depraved for a greater or less time. of which most men's recollection will supply instances. we are repeatedly deceived by such sounds as are imperfectly gathered up and erroneously apprehended. with the usual ceremonies. Johnson retained a deep impression that. the next organ in importance to the eye. then at many miles' distance. where there existed no man but the shipwrecked mariner himself. and to the extent of their power. and at others it was no uncommon circumstance that the person who fancied himself so called. as the sight itself. that the symptom originates in deranged health. that Dr. and months. he heard the voice of his mother. relative was. in their various departments. From the false impressions received from this organ also arise consequences similar to those derived from erroneous reports made by the organs of sight. and it appears he was rather disappointed that no event of consequence followed a summons sounding so decidedly supernatural. from other circumstances. heard as repeating the party's name.glimpses of the future world than those in which the vision is continued or repeated for hours. in desert sands. Yet the other senses or organs. devoting him to the infernal gods. we may quote that visionary summons which the natives of the Hebrides acknowledged as one sure sign of approaching fate. which mislead.

Nor knows. They came in quietly. The sense of touch seems less liable to perversion than either that of sight or smell. But wonders. so that he could not help saying to his companion. to fairy. the cause of the phenomenon became apparent. and obviously had no accession to the sounds which had caught the author's attention. Forthwith the hubbub multiplies. o'erawed and trembling as he stands. who laboured under the infirmity of a severe deafness. To what or whom he owes his idle fear — To ghost. are but too ready to convey. being the singing of the Wind in the instrument which the young gentleman was obliged to use. It is scarce necessary to add. the broken cry of deer Mangled by throttling dogs. operating upon the auricular deceptions. The same clew may be found to the kindred Scottish belief. and every mountain round. when he heard what he conceived to be the cry of a distant pack of hounds. of which two or three were with the walking party. Beginning faint. and no end of wondering finds. from various circumstances. Aghast he eyes The upland ridge. on a moment's reflection. and. or to fiend. The supposed distant sound was in fact a nigh one. for I could otherwise have let you hear the cry of the Wild Huntsman. the air Labours with louder shouts and rifer din Of close pursuit. had never occurred to his elder friend as likely to produce the sounds he had heard. to witch. that to the auricular deceptions practised by the means of ventriloquism or otherwise. And horns hoarse-winded.” As the young gentleman used a hearing tube. As the season was summer. he turned when spoken to. And hoofs. sounding intermittedly. satisfied the hearer that it could not be the clamour of an actual chase. but rising still more loud. the shouts of men. nor are there many cases in which it can become accessary to such false intelligence as the eye and ear.”* It must also be remembered. And louder. blowing far and keen. He called upon his own dogs. may be traced many. this. respecting the numerous sounds likely to occur in the dark recesses of pathless forests. thickbeating on the hollow hill: Sudden the grazing heifer in the vale Starts at the tumult. and the herdsman's ears Tingle with inward dread. of the most successful impostures which credulity has received as supernatural communications. To wake the bounding stag or guilty wolf.serving to show by what slender accidents the human ear may be imposed upon. about two years since. and of hounds. collecting their objects from a greater distance and by less accurate enquiry. There oft is heard at midnight or at noon. since of old the haughty Thanes of Ross Were wont. but which. that the highly imaginative superstition of the Wild Huntsman in Germany seems to have had its origin in strong fancy. so finely embodied by the nameless author of ” Albania:” — ” There. But not one trace of living wight discerns. “ I am doubly sorry for your infirmity at this moment. and yet his ears repeatedly brought back the supposed cry. voice of hunters. in a wild and solitary scene with a young friend. with clans and ready vassals thronged. in doing so. Yet there is one circumstance in which the Sense of touch as . The author was walking.

while. than as a good dinner and its accompaniments are essential in fitting out a daring Tam of Shanter. æque experiare. and still felt the cold dead grasp of a corpse's hand on his right wrist. quam vis jam corporis. He awaked in horror. and are less likely than those senses to aid in misleading the imagination. the draught they had swallowed as such was of an innoxious or restorative quality. and receives an impression of touch from it.” A remarkable instance of such an illusion was told me by a late nobleman. Now. of the member touching. The taste and the smell. substance. The best and most acute bon vivant loses his power of discriminating betwixt different kinds of wine. The swats sae ream'd in Tammie's . both the actor and patient. in the case of the porridge-fed lunatic. and conveys to the mind a report respecting the size. in the gay visions which gilded the patient's confinement. in respect to the circumstances which it impresses on its owner. We have seen the palate. but is diffused over the whole person of the man. with some uneasy feelings arising from indigestion. who is fittest to encounter them when the poet's observation is not unlikely to apply — ” Inspiring bauld John Barleycorn. is subject to imposition as well as the other senses. in this case. which at one and the same time receives an impression from the band. Wi' usquebae we'll face the devil. What dangers thou canst make us scorn! Wi' tippenny we fear nae evil. The delusions of the stomach can seldom bear upon our present subject. and from their reciprocal action.well as others is very apt to betray its possessor into inaccuracy. in reality. and touch. and the like. and with it he had accidentally encircled his right arm. to increase the complication. if the glasses of each are administered indiscriminately while he is blindfolded. enter its protest against the acquiescence of eyes. The case occurs during sleep. both the proprietor of the member touching. The palate. when. He had fallen asleep. if he is prevented from assisting his palate by the aid of his eyes. the hand is both toucher of the limb on which it rests. ipse Tute tibi partem ferias. accurately enquired into. as during sleep the patient is unconscious that both limbs are his own identical property. which. we are authorized to believe that individuals have died in consequence of having supposed themselves to have taken poison. ears. is noticed by Lucretius: — ” Ut si forte mana. his mind is apt to be much disturbed by the complication of sensations arising from two parts of his person being at once acted upon. and are not otherwise connected with supernatural appearances. It was a minute before he discovered that his own left hand was in a state of numbness. and false impressions are thus received. He is clearly. and the same is the case with the limb. convey more direct intelligence than the eye and the ear. They operated in their usual course of visionary terrors. — that is. Nay. and of that which is touched. as also that it is confined to no particular organ. would afford a clew to many puzzling phenomena in the theory of dreams. At length they were all summed up in the apprehension that the phantom of a dead man held the sleeper by the wrist. and endeavoured to drag him out of bed. however. This peculiarity of the organ of touch. like the touch. when the dreamer touches with his hand some other part of his own person.

noddle, Fair play, he caredna deils a bodle!” Neither has the sense of smell, in its ordinary state, much connexion with our present subject. Mr. Aubrey tells us, indeed, of an apparition which disappeared with a curious perfume as well as a most melodious twang; and popular belief ascribes to the presence of infernal spirits a strong relish of the sulphureous element of which they are inhabitants. Such accompaniments, therefore, are usually united with other materials for imposture. If, as a general opinion assures us, which is not positively discountenanced 'by Dr. Hibbert, by the inhalation of certain gases or poisonous “herbs, necromancers can dispose a person to believe he sees phantoms, it is likely that the nostrils are made to inhale such suffumigation as well as the mouth. * I have now arrived, by a devious path, at the conclusion of this letter, the object of which is to show from what attributes of our nature, whether mental or corporeal, arises that predisposition to believe in supernatural occurrences. It is, I think, conclusive that mankind, from a very early period, have their minds prepared for such events by the consciousness of the existence of a spiritual world, inferring in the general proposition the undeniable truth that each man, from the monarch to the beggar, who has once acted his part on the stage, continues to exist, and may again, even in a disembodied state, if such is the pleasure of Heaven, for aught that we know to the contrary, be permitted or ordained to mingle amongst those who yet remain in the body. The abstract possibility of apparitions must be admitted by every one who believes in a Deity, and His superintending omnipotence. But imagination is apt to intrude its explanations and inferences founded on inadequate evidence. Sometimes our violent and inordinate passions, originating in sorrow for our friends, remorse for our crimes, our eagerness of patriotism, or our deep sense of devotion — these or other violent excitements of a moral character, in the visions of night, or the rapt ecstasy of the day, persuade us that we witness, with our eyes and ears, an actual instance of that supernatural communication, the possibility of which cannot be denied. At other times the corporeal organs impose upon the mind, while the eye and the ear, diseased, deranged, or misled, convey false impressions to the patient. Very often both the mental delusion and the physical deception exist at the same time, and men's belief of the phenomena presented to them, however erroneously, by the senses, is the firmer and more readily granted, that the physical impression corresponded with the mental excitement. So many causes acting thus upon each other in various degrees, or sometimes separately, it must happen early in the infancy of every society that there should occur many apparently well-authenticated instances of supernatural intercourse, satisfactory enough to authenticate peculiar examples of the general proposition which is impressed upon us by belief of the immortality of the soul. These examples of undeniable apparitions (for they are apprehended to be incontrovertible), fall like the seed of the husbandman into fertile and prepared soil, and are usually followed by a plentiful crop of superstitious

figments, which derive their sources from circumstances and enactments in sacred and profane history, hastily adopted, and perverted from their genuine reading. This shall be the subject of my next letter. * Walker's “Lives,” Edinburgh, 1827, vol. i. p. xxxvi. It is evident that honest Peter believed in the apparition of this martial gear on the principle of Partridge's terror for the ghost of Hamlet — not that lie was afraid himself, but because Garrick showed such evident marks of terror. * Long the president of the Berlin Academy, and much favoured by Frederick II., till be was overwhelmed by the ridicule of Voltaire. He retired, in a species of disgrace, to his native country of Switzerland, and died there shortly afterwards. * The poem of “Albania” is, in its original folio edition, so extremely scarce that I have only seen a copy belonging to the amiable and ingenious Dr. Beattie, besides the one which I myself possess, printed in the earlier part of last century. It was reprinted by my late friend Dr. Leyden in a small volume entitled ” Scottish Descriptive Poems.” ” Albania” contains the above, and many other poetical passages of the highest merit. * Most ancient authors, who pretend to treat of the wonders of natural magic, give receipts for calling up phantoms. The lighting lamps fed by peculiar kinds of medicated oil, and the use of suffumigations, of strong and deleterious herbs, are the means recommended. From these authorities, perhaps, a professor of legerdemain assured Dr. Alderson of Hull, that he could compose a preparation of antimony, sulphur, and other drugs, which, when burnt in a confined room, would have the effect of causing the patient to suppose he saw phantoms. — See “ Hibbert on Apparitions,” p. 120. LETTER II. Consequences of the Fall on the Communication between Man and the Spiritual World — Effects of the Flood — Wizards of Pharaoh — Text in Exodus against Witches — The word Witch is by some said to mean merely Poisoner — Or if in the Holy Text it also means a Divineress, she must, at any rate, have been a Character very different to be identified with it — The original, Chasaph, said to mean a person who dealt in Poisons, often a Traffic of those who dealt with familiar Spirits — But different from the European Witch of the Middle Ages — Thus a Witch is not accessary to the Temptation of Job — The Witch of the Hebrews probably did not rank higher than a Divining Woman — Yet it was a Crime deserving the Doom of Death, since it inferred the disowning of Jehovah's Supremacy — Other Texts of Scripture, in like manner, refer to something corresponding more with a Fortune-teller or Divining Woman than what is now called a Witch — Example of the Witch of Endor — Account of her Meeting with Saul — Supposed by some a mere Impostor — By others, a Sorceress powerful enough to raise the Spirit of the Prophet by her own Art — Difficulties attending both Positions — A middle Course adopted, supposing that, as in the Case of Balak, the Almighty had, by Exertion of His Will, substituted Samuel, or a good Spirit in his Character, for

the Deception which the Witch intended to produce — Resumption of the Argument, showing that the Witch of Endor signified something very different from the modern Ideas of Witchcraft — The Witches mentioned in the New Testament are not less different from modern Ideas than those of the Books of Moses, nor do they appear to have possessed the Power ascribed to Magicians — Articles of Faith which we may gather from Scripture on this point — That there might be certain Powers permitted by the Almighty to Inferior, and even Evil Spirits, is possible; and in some sense the Gods of the Heathens might be accounted Demons — More frequently, and in a general sense, they were but logs of wood, without sense or power of any kind, and their worship founded on imposture — Opinion that the Oracles were silenced at the Nativity adopted by Milton Cases of Demoniacs — The Incarnate Possessions probably ceased at the same time as the intervention of Miracles — Opinion of the Catholics — Result, that witchcraft, as the Word is interpreted in the Middle Ages, neither occurs under the Mosaic or Gospel Dispensation — It arose in the Ignorant Period, when the Christians considered the Gods of the Mahommedan or Heathen Nations as Fiends, and their Priests as Conjurers or Wizards — Instance as to the Saracens, and among the Northern Europeans yet unconverted — The Gods of Mexico and Peru explained on the same system — Also the Powahs of North America — Opinion of Mather — Gibb, a supposed Warlock, persecuted by the other Dissenters — Conclusion. WHAT degree of communication might have existed between the human race and the inhabitants of the other world had our first parents kept the commands of the Creator, can only be subject of unavailing speculation. We do not, perhaps, presume too much when we suppose, with Milton, that one necessary consequence of eating the ” fruit of that forbidden tree” was removing to a wider distance from celestial essences the beings who, although originally but a little lower than the angels, had, by their own crime, forfeited the gift of immortality, and degraded themselves into an inferior rank of creation. Some communication between the spiritual world, by the union of those termed in Scripture ” sons of God” and the daughters of Adam, still continued after the Fall, though their inter-alliance was not approved of by the Ruler of mankind. We are given to understand — darkly, indeed, but with as much certainty as we can be entitled to require — that the mixture between the two species of created beings was sinful on the part of both, and displeasing to the Almighty. It is probable, also, that the extreme longevity of the antediluvian mortals prevented their feeling sufficiently that they had brought themselves under the banner of Azrael, the angel of death, and removed to too great a distance the period between their crime and its punishment. The date of the avenging Flood gave birth to a race whose life was gradually shortened, and who, being admitted to slighter and rarer intimacy with beings who possessed a higher rank in creation,

without having obtained any accurate knowledge whether the crime of witchcraft. although their skill and power might be safely despised. Those powers of the Magi. either by noxious potions. as long as they confined themselves to their charms and spells. and was abrogated. while the Deity was pleased to continue his manifestations to those who were destined to be the fathers of his elect people. . But in the law of Moses. which had been imposed upon them as an end of their creation. separated from each other. other learned men contend that it hath the meaning of a witch also. whether obtained by supernatural communications. or goods. being exclusively calculated for the Israelites. and may be understood as denoting a person who pretended to hurt his or her neighbours in life. This is known to have been the case in many of those darker iniquities which bear as their characteristic something connected with hidden and prohibited arts. either from its tenor being misunderstood. although. and under separate auspices. and who can doubt that — though we may be left in some darkness both respecting the extent of their skill and the source from which it was drawn — we are told all which it can be important for us to know? We arrive here at the period when the Almighty chose to take upon himself directly to legislate for his chosen people. like the greater part of that law. The text alluded to is that verse of the twenty-second chapter of Exodus bearing. changed their rods into serpents. was announced a text. so that the epithet of sorceress and poisoner were almost synonymous. by which it is rendered in the Latin version of the Septuagint. a lower position in the scale. contended with Moses. it made part of the judicial Mosaic dispensation. to pursue the work of replenishing the world.” Many learned men have affirmed that in this remarkable passage the Hebrew word CHASAPH means nothing more than poisoner. or that. or arising from knowledge of legerdemain and its kindred accomplishments. limb. who. King of Egypt. dispersing into different parts of the world. dictated by the Divinity himself. after this period we hear no more of those unnatural alliances which preceded the Flood. In this particular the witches of Scripture had probably some resemblance to those of ancient Europe. and began. and attempt to match. by the more benign and clement dispensation of the Gospel. in the face of the prince and people. has occasioned much cruelty and bloodshed. we are made to understand that wicked men — it may be by the assistance of fallen angels — were enabled to assert rank with. or the intercourse between the spiritual world and embodied beings. in various places. or was visited with any open marks of Divine displeasure. like the word veneficus . either existed after the Flood. or similar mystical means. and imitated several of the plagues denounced against the devoted kingdom. were openly exhibited.assumed. by charms. as interpreted literally. which. Accordingly. The matter must remain uncertain whether it was by sorcery or legerdemain that the wizards of Pharaoh. however. “ men shall not suffer a witch to live. and are given to understand that mankind. the prophets of the God of Israel. In the meantime. for evil purposes. having been inserted into the criminal code of all Christian nations. as of course. were very apt to eke out their capacity of mischief by the use of actual poison.

was justly punished with death. we must reflect that the object of the Mosaic dispensation being to preserve the knowledge of the True Deity within the breasts of a selected and separated people. though enhanced with all their vehemence. no infernal stamp or sign of such a fatal league. invocations. had recourse to other deities. Luke xxii. But neither is there here the agency of any sorcerer or witch. who granted him liberty to try his faithful servant with a storm of disasters. did such a crime deserve the severe punishment of death? To answer this question.Such was the statement in the indictment of those concerned in the famous murder of Sir Thomas Overbury. and encouraged others to worship. or such means as might be innoxious. when the arts of Forman and other sorcerers having been found insufficient to touch the victim's life. On the contrary. which could return them no answer. not on account of any success which they might obtain by their intercessions and invocations (which. 31” Supposing the powers of the witch to be limited. had the scene occurred after the manner of the like events in latter days. the connexion between the conjurer and the demon must have been of a very different character under the law of Moses. sorceries. for the more brilliant exhibition of the faith which he reposed in his Maker. an act of rebellion to their own Lord God. with an evil spirit. to enquiries at some pretended deity or real evil spirit concerning future events. by the Jewish law. and no infliction of disease or misfortune upon good men. In all this. In like manner. or she who communicated. whether idols or evil spirits. practice by poison was at length successfully resorted to. Thus the prophets of Baal were deservedly put to death. But supposing that the Hebrew witch proceeded only by charms. and the Devil. while they worshipped. There was no contract of subjection to a diabolic Power. the gods of the neighbouring heathen. he applied for permission to the Supreme Governor of the world. proved so utterly unavailing as to incur the ridicule of the prophet). The swerving from their allegiance to the true Divinity. would have employed his servant the witch as the necessary instrument of the Man of Uzz's afflictions. may it be said. the God of Jacob necessarily showed himself a jealous God to all who. and as such most fit to be punished capitally. though her communication with the spiritual world might either not exist at all. instead of his own permitted agency. but because they were guilty of apostasy from the real Deity. no revellings of Satan and his nags. it is not for us to determine) that. to the extent of praying to senseless stocks and stones. we are told (how far literally. or be of a nature much less intimate than has been . and charms would have been introduced. straying from the path of direct worship of Jehovah. At least there is not a word in Scripture authorizing us to believe that such a system existed. witchcraft. The Hebrew witch. how far metaphorically. was. in what respect. the false divinity Baal. and numerous similar instances might be quoted. therefore. from that which was conceived in latter days to constitute witchcraft. in the time of Moses. or attempted to communicate. when the Enemy of mankind desired to probe the virtue of Job to the bottom. to the extent of cutting and wounding themselves. that he might sift him like wheat. Satan desired to have Peter. save for the assistance of demons or familiars.

with all its unnatural and improbable outrages on common sense. to go to a divining woman.” Similar denunciations occur in the nineteenth and twentieth chapters of Leviticus. In like manner. consulted the oracle of Apollo — a capital offence in a Jew. or a wizard. and judgments. more particularly requiring a description of the apparition (whom. In another passage. but surely a venial sin in an ignorant and deluded pagan. accused of a very different species of crime. disheartened and discouraged by the general defection of his subjects. into idolatry. To understand the texts otherwise seems to confound the modern system of witchcraft. consequently. or an enchanter. notwithstanding repeated prohibitions. and dealt with familiar spirits and with wizards. by the way. at length resolved. by which course he involved himself in the crime of the person whom he thus consulted. They inform us that Saul. or that useth divination. against the witches of the Old Testament sanction. or a witch. and that the female exclaimed that gods had arisen out of the earth — that Saul. in classical days. observed times. it is a charge against Manasses (2 Chronicles xxxviii. 10. he did not himself see). To illustrate the nature of the Hebrew witch and her prohibited criminal traffic. used enchantments and witchcraft. which. in any respect. a fact. examples. was still the prevailing crime of the Israelites. in classing witchcraft among other desertions of the prophets of the Deity. The passage alluded to is in Deuteronomy xviii. and the consciousness of his own unworthy and ungrateful disobedience. despairing of obtaining an answer from the offended Deity. These passages seem to concur with the former. the only detailed and particular account of such a transaction which is to be found in the Bible. and asking counsel of false deities. who had previously communicated with him through his prophets. Scripture proceeds to give us the general information that the king directed the witch to call up the Spirit of Samuel. The Scriptures seem only to have conveyed to us the general fact (being what is chiefly edifying) of the interview between the witch and the King of Israel. in order to obtain responses by the superstitious practices of the pagan nations around them. those who have written on this subject have naturally dwelt upon the interview between Saul and the Witch of Endor. against whom the law denounced death — a sentence which had been often executed by Saul himself on similar offenders.ascribed to the witches of later days. in his desperation. the severity of similar enactments subsequent to the Christian revelation. or a charmer. against a different class of persons. 11 — ” There shall not be found among you anyone that maketh his son or his daughter to pass through the fire. that he caused his children to pass through the fire. who enjoyed such peculiar manifestations of the Almighty's presence. and again it is made manifest that the sorcery or witchcraft of the Old Testament resolves itself into a trafficking with idols. or a consulter with familiar spirits. which proves that the crime of witchcraft (capitally punished as it was when discovered) was not frequent among the chosen people. nor does the existence of this law. or a necromancer. or an observer of times. with the crime of the person who. in other words. she .). the practices of those persons termed witches in the Holy Scriptures are again alluded to.

if the reader may think this more likely. though all is told which is necessary to convey to us an awful moral lesson. and the command of an apostate prince? Did the true Deity refuse Saul the response of his prophets. It is left still more doubtful whether anything supernatural was actually evoked. upon whom the Spirit of the Lord was wont to descend. and compelled him to exchange his premeditated curses for blessings. to know with certainty whether Saul was present when the woman used her conjuration. it remains equally uncertain what was its nature or by what power it was compelled to an appearance. taking their chance to prophesy the defeat and death of the broken-spirited king as an event which the circumstances in which he was placed rendered highly probable. According to this hypothesis. and could a witch compel the actual spirit of Samuel to make answer notwithstanding? Embarrassed by such difficulties. in which case we must suppose that the woman really expected or hoped to call up some supernatural appearance. On the other band. which perhaps we ought to accept as a sure sign that there was no utility in our being made acquainted with them. is yet liable to others. Was the power of the witch over the invisible world so great that. and especially that of a prophet so important as Samuel. another course of explanation has been resorted to. It is impossible. when the laws of Nature were frequently suspended by manifestations of the Divine Power. the melancholy prediction of his own defeat and death. for the phantasmagoria intended by the witch. and his character as a soldier rendered it likely that he would not survive a defeat which must involve the loss of his kingdom.described it as the figure of an old man with a mantle. In this figure the king acknowledges the resemblance of Samuel. the divining woman of Endor was preparing to practise upon Saul those tricks of legerdemain or jugglery by which she imposed upon meaner clients who resorted to her oracle. Or we may conceive that in those days. even while he was clothed with frail mortality. as it intimated. this second solution of the story supposes that the will of the Almighty substituted. yet we are left ignorant of the minutiæ attending the apparition. since the supposed spirit of Samuel asks wherefore he was disquieted in the grave. In this description. or whether he himself personally ever saw the appearance which the Pythoness described to him. freed from some of the objections which attend the two extreme suppositions. speaking in the character of the prophet. the spirit of Samuel in his earthly resemblance — or. some good being. or whether the Pythoness and her assistant meant to practise a mere deception. for instance. But in either case. the messenger of the . should be subject to be disquieted in his grave at the voice of a vile witch. admitting that the apparition had really a supernatural character. hears from the apparition. and sinking on his face. It has been supposed that something took place upon this remarkable occasion similar to that which disturbed the preconcerted purpose of the prophet Balaam. on that memorable occasion. which. like the Erictho of the heathen poet. unpleasing. since he was surrounded by a superior army of Philistines. she could disturb the sleep of the just. some degree of juggling might be permitted between mortals and the spirits of lesser note. and are we to suppose that he.

he obtained the awful certainty of his own defeat and death. frequent the company and join the revels of evil spirits. This exposition has the advantage of explaining the surprise expressed by the witch at the unexpected consequences of her own invocation. and waste the fruits of the earth. The Witch of Endor was a mere fortune-teller. for a very different and much more doubtful class of offences. the opinion of Samuel's actual appearance is adopted. She was liable. Leaving the further discussion of this dark and difficult question to those whose studies have qualified them to give judgment on so obscure a subject. It does not apply so well to the complaint of Samuel that he was disquieted. exchanged the juggling farce of sheer deceit or petty sorcery which she had intended to produce. in any part of that sacred volume. If. for a deep tragedy. according to that interpretation. 20). no otherwise resembling her than as called by the same name. it cannot be said that. nor any good angel wearing his likeness. and by whom. destroy human lives.Divine pleasure. to the surprise of the Pythoness herself. under the Jewish dispensation. which were the ultimate cause of Samuel's appearance. to review this miserable spot of mortality. who could transform themselves and others into the appearance of the lower animals raise and allay tempests. but as a reproach to the prophet's former friend Saul. But her existence and her crimes can go no length to prove the possibility that another class of witches. grief. that after death he prophesied. are nevertheless to be proved possible before they can be received as a criminal charge. the words may. in any respect similar to that against which the law-books of so many European nations have. the phrase is understood. indeed. or were liable to the same capital punishment. and misfortune. wear no stronger sense of complaint than might become the spirit of a just man made perfect. however. till very lately. Whatever may be thought of other occasional expressions in the Old Testament. and. deservedly to the punishment of death for intruding herself upon the task of the real prophets. which. in the likeness of the departed prophet — and. while it removes the objection of supposing the spirit of Samuel subject to her influence. 19. however odious. guilt. It may be observed that in Ecclesiasticus (xlvi. capable of appalling the heart of the hardened tyrant. since it is said of this man of God. had withdrawn the prophet for a space from the enjoyment and repose of Heaven. and showed the king his latter end. far less under the Christian dispensation — a system under . in some way or other. was not a being such as those believed in by our ancestors. and furnishing an awful lesson to future times. it so far appears clear that the Witch of Endor. could be supposed to complain of an apparition which took place in obedience to the direct command of the Deity. in despair of all aid or answer from the Almighty. or perform feats of such magnitude as to alter the face of Nature. since neither the prophet. that his sins and discontents. or any benevolent angel by whom he might be represented. by their counsel and assistance. to whom. the unfortunate King of Israel had recourse in his despair. by whom the will of God was at that time regularly made known. either existed at a more recent period. denounced punishment. not as a murmuring against the pleasure of Providence. a text occurs indicating the existence of a system of witchcraft.

or similar forbidden arts. during the course of time comprehended by the Divine writers. or fallen angels. the instruments of his pleasure. by which he could only expose his own impudence and ignorance. the permitted agents of such evil as it was his will should be inflicted upon. or suffered by. With this observation we may conclude our brief remarks upon witchcraft . as gathered from the sacred volumes. which indicate that there was a transgression so called. Saint Paul. And in the first place. or Simon. support. without believing that. the word. And with these occasional notices. Indeed. and it is plain that a leagued vassal of hell — should we pronounce him such — would have better known his own rank and condition. in a cursory manner. than to have made such a fruitless and unavailing proposal. indeed. as excluded from the city of God. and . using either good spirits. the writers upon witchcraft attempt to wring out of the New Testament proofs of a crime in itself so disgustingly improbable. in the Book of Revelations. to acquire knowledge of futurity. of course. by purchase. had the possibility of so enormous a sin been admitted. mentions the sin of witchcraft. Simon Magus displayed a degree of profane and brutal ignorance inconsistent with his possessing even the intelligence of a skilful impostor. compared to that of the apostles. under any sense. although. and put their own mystical and ridiculous pretensions to supernatural power in competition with those who had been conferred on purpose to diffuse the gospel. every Christian believer is bound to receive as a thing declared and proved to be true. wrought in the land many great miracles. This proposition comprehends. entitle them to rank above the class of impostors who assumed a character to which they had no real title. Sorcerers are also joined with other criminals. and equivalent to resorting to the assistance of soothsayers. a portion of those powers which were directly derived from inspiration. and patronage. to confirm the faith of the Jews. in the four Gospels. which juxtaposition inclines us to believe that the witchcraft mentioned by the Apostle must have been analogous to that of the Old Testament. and in the offences of the flesh it is ranked immediately after idolatry. This latter crime is supposed to infer a compact implying reverence and adoration on the part of the witch who comes under the fatal bond. It is clear that. or call himself a Christian. by which the ordinary laws of nature were occasionally suspended. no man can read the Bible. the Deity. and to overcome and confound the pride of the heathens.which the emancipation of the human race from the Levitical law was happily and miraculously per fected. the acknowledgment of the truth of miracles during this early period. but leave us ignorant of its exact nature. called Magus or the Magician. it was not likely to escape the warning censure of the Divine Person who came to take away the sins of the world. and facilitate its reception by the exhibition of genuine miracles. the children of men. and assistance on the part of the diabolical patron. from his presumptuous and profane proposal to acquire. which. as the word occurs in the Scripture. Neither do the exploits of Elymas. as superior in guilt to that of ingratitude. called the Sorcerer. and it now only remains to mention the nature of the demonology . does not occur.

whose object of adoration is the work of his own hands. forbid us to believe that the images so constructed by common artisans became the habitation or resting-place of demons.recognises the existence in the spiritual world of the two grand divisions of angels and devils. in one sense. as the backsliders among the Jews repeatedly fell off to the worship of the idols of the neighbouring heathens. rather than the audacious intervention of demons. undoubtedly. we cannot deny the possibility of such permission being granted in cases unknown to us. suppose that every one. &c. and with. or the thousandth part of the innumerable idols worshipped among the heathen. with charmers. wise men have thought and argued that the idols of the heathen were actually fiends. But whatever license it may be supposed was permitted to the evil spirits of that period — and although. delusion. ver. wizards. might be permitted occasionally to exert. for example. it is clear that the greater number fell under the description applied to them in another passage of Scripture. in fact. The precise words of the text. in their sacrifices to Venus. and to give a certain degree of countenance to the faith of the worshippers. but personifications of certain evil passions of humanity. as well as common sense. whether through demoniacal influence or otherwise. chap. in which 6o the impotence of the senseless block. in which the part of the tree burned in the fire for domestic purposes is treated as of the same power and estimation as that carved into an image. and preferred for Gentile homage. men owned the sway of deities who were. 2. occurs in the 44th chapter of the prophecies of Isaiah. on the one hand.. which are thus ascribed to the agency of evil spirits. that these enemies of mankind had power to assume the shape and appearance of those feeble deities. and the idols of Egypt are classed. and trick exhibited by the oracles. to a certain extent. and therefore might be said. Secondly. or devils in their name. was endowed with supernatural power. Thirdly. those who have familiar spirits. it is certain. a confirmation of many miracles related in pagan or classical history. that the Scriptures mention no one specific instance of such influence expressly recommended to our belief. It corresponds also with the texts of Scripture which declare that the gods of the heathen are all devils and evil spirits. The whole system of doubt. Whatever degree of power the false gods of heathendom. in reason. xix. and returning. This striking passage. severally exercising their powers according to the commission or permission of the Ruler of the universe. and the brutish ignorance of the worshipper. rather. to Bacchus. by their priests or their oracles. This doctrine has the advantage of affording. or possessed any manifestation of strength or power. was unquestionably under the general restraint and limitation of providence. responses which ” palter'd in a double sense" with the deluded persons who consulted them. on the other. Most of the fathers of the Christian Church have intimated such an opinion. as. as in Isaiah. to worship evil spirits — we cannot. so they also resorted to the use of charms and . savours of the mean juggling of impostors. and though. by working seeming miracles. verse 10 et seq . or. to Mars.

to punish the disobedience of the Jews. a crime.enchantments. Such were the promises delivered to the Israelites by Joel. and on the other hand. and. hails the fulfilment in the mission of our Saviour. it is impossible for us conclusively to pronounce what effect might be permitted by supreme Providence to the ministry of such evil spirits as presided over. we may observe that. Peter. as they approached the nuptial couch. by the Levitical law. and other holy seers. of which St. a passage resembling more an incident in an Arabian tale or Gothic romance. indeed. direct treason to the divine Legislator. What has been translated by that word seems little more than the art of a medicator of poisons. so that in the fulness of his time he would pour out his spirit upon all flesh. and their young men dream dreams. it is no less evident that the Almighty. Of this the punishment arising from the Deity abandoning Ahab to his own devices. In this. abandoned them to their own fallacious desires. of a capital nature. or the flight of birds. directed. and who has strangled seven bridegrooms in succession. his mere appearance upon earth. We are indeed assured from the sacred writings. it implied great enmity to mankind. their old men see visions. in the second chapter of the Acts of the Apostles. and in the second. in considering the incalculable change which took place upon the Advent of our Saviour and the announcement of his law. by the means of Urim and Thummim. in which they endeavoured by Sortilege. and suffered them to be deceived by the lying oracles. and we may therefore be excused from entering into discussion on such imperfect evidence. forms a striking instance. abstaining with reverence from accounting ourselves judges of the actions of Omnipotence. But the romantic and fabulous strain of this legend has induced the fathers of all Protestant churches to deny it a place amongst the writings sanctioned by divine origin. The book of Tobit contains. Fourthly. the fumes produced by broiling the liver of a certain fish are described as having power to drive away an evil genius who guards the nuptial chamber of an Assyrian princess. when their sons and daughters should prophesy. that the promise of the Deity to his chosen people. according to many wise and learned men. by observation of augury. founded on a superstitious perversion of their own Levitical ritual. and suffering him to be deceived by a lying spirit. was. But for the same reason that withholds us from delivering any opinion upon the degree to which the devil and his angels might be allowed to countenance the impositions of the heathen priesthood. in flagrant violation of his commands. so far as they had liberty. to which. by Teraphim. they had recourse. we may safely conclude that it was not his pleasure to employ in the execution of his judgments the consequences of any such species of league or compact betwixt devils and deluded mortals. however. if they conducted themselves agreeably to the law which he had given. without awaiting the fulfilment of his . combined with that of a Pythoness or false prophetess. since. these sinful enquiries among the Jews themselves. Lastly. that the communication with the invisible world would be enlarged. And on the other hand. to find as it were a byroad to the secrets of futurity. which they called Nahas . in the first capacity. Ezekiel. as that denounced in the laws of our own ancestors under the name of witchcraft . than a part of inspired writing.

They call the grisly king. fiends and demons were permitted an enlarged degree of power in uttering predictions. that this great event had not the same effect on that peculiar class of fiends who were permitted to vex mortals by the alienation of their minds. with the manifestation of demoniac power.” The quotation is a long one. in the elder time. ” The lonely mountains o'er. so nobly expressed in the poetry of Milton. The parting Genius is with sighing sent. And mooned Ashtaroth. No nightly trance or breathed spell Inspires the pale-eyed priests from the prophetic cell. may also give credit to the proposition. peculiar Power foregoes his wonted seat. but . in the ” Paradise Lost. The Lars and Lemures moan with midnight plaint. and concluding that the descent of our Saviour struck them with silence. fled. “ Peor and Baalim Forsake their temples dim. be thus describes. And the chill marble seems to sweat. From haunted spring and dale. “ And sullen Moloch. While each. and ape in some degree the attributes of the Deity. Isis and Orus. In what exact sense we should understand this word possession it is impossible to discover. but it is scarcely possible to shorten what is so beautiful and interesting a description of the heathen deities. the oracles silenced. It must be noticed. Edged with poplar pale. that at the Divine Advent that power was restrained. Milton has. Apollo from his shrine Can no more divine. With that twice-battered god of Palestine. Hath left in shaddws dread His burning idol all of darkest hue. in one of his earlier pieces. in the case of what is called Demoniacal possession. Heaven's queen and mother both. “ In consecrated earth. believing that. Now sits not girt with tapers' holy shine. The brutish gods of Nile as fast. With hollow shriek the steep of Delphos leaving. however. in simple prose. and. or the hieroglyphical enormities of the Egyptian Mythology. No voice or hideous hum Runs through the arched roof in words deceiving. In vain with cymbals ring. even in his own splendid writings. haste. nor does there appear anything inconsistent in the faith of those who. operated as an act of banishment of such heathen deities as had hitherto been suffered to deliver oracles. in a tone of poetry almost unequalled. A voice of weeping heard and loud lament. A drear and dying sound Affrights the Flamens at their service quaint. is not certainly to be lightly rejected. It has been asserted. by authorities of no mean weight. embraced the theory which identifies the followers of Satan with the gods of the heathen. In vain the Tyrian maids their wounded Thammuz mourn. and those demons who had aped the Divinity of the place were driven from their abode on earth. whether in the classic personifications of Greece.mission. honoured as it was by a guest so awful. And the resounding shore. In urns and altars round. The Lybic Hammon'shrinks his horn. The Nymphs in twilight shade of tangled thickets mourn. And on the holy hearth. With flower-inwoven tresses torn. In dismal dance about the furnace blue. the horrible shapes worshipped by mere barbarians. and the Dog Anubis. The idea of identifying the pagan deities. and the abuse of their persons. especially the most distinguished of them. the departure of these pretended deities on the eve of the blessed Nativity: — ” The oracles are dumb.” it may be upon conviction of its truth.

upon this memorable occasion. the most malignant enemies of a power to which they dared not refuse homage and obedience. Nor would it consist with the remarkable promise in holy writ.” I Cor. x. The Fathers of the Faith are not strictly agreed at what period the miraculous . of a kind not merely natural. as the cause of occupying or tormenting the victim. in a great proportion of those melancholy cases of witchcraft with which the records of later times abound. yet in no one instance do the devils ejected mention a witch or sorcerer. silenced. confuted. Such a permission on the part of the Supreme Being would be (to speak under the deepest reverence) an abandonment of His chosen people. And here is an additional proof that witchcraft. be a shocking inconsistency in supposing that false and deceitful prophecies and portents should be freely circulated by any demoniacal influence. that ” God will not suffer His people to be tempted above what they are able to bear. even out of the very mouths of those ejected fiends. abusing their minds. without resorting to his divine power. after the lapse of the period during which it pleased the Almighty to establish His own Church by miraculous displays of power. or plead the commands of such a person. deceiving men's bodily organs. from his presence. that some old man or woman in the neighbourhood had compelled the fiend to be the instrument of evil. ransomed at such a price. It must also be admitted that in another most remarkable respect. The indulgence which was then granted to him in a case so unique and peculiar soon passed over and was utterly restrained. to come on earth with great power. whom. There would. he personally suffered the temptation in the wilderness at the hand of Satan. in curing those tormented in this way.we feel it impossible to doubt (notwithstanding learned authorities to the contrary) that it was a dreadful disorder. he drove. while the true religion was left by its great Author devoid of every supernatural sign and token which. was unknown at that period. it could not consist with his kindness and wisdom to leave the enemy in the possession of the privilege of deluding men by imaginary miracles calculated for the perversion of that faith which real miracles were no longer present to support. and may be pretty well assured that it was suffered to continue after the Incarnation. because the miracles effected by our Saviour and his apostles. we presume to say. in consequence of the Saviour coming upon earth. or the demon within him. But it appears. and shamed. attested and celebrated their inappreciable mission. the permission was given expressly because his time was short. the power of the Enemy of mankind was rather enlarged than bridled or restrained. afforded the most direct proofs of his divine mission. 13. the stress of the evidence is rested on the declaration of the possessed. to the snares of an enemy from whom the worst evils were to be apprehended. in its ordinary and popular sense. and perverting their faith. in order that Jesus might have his share in every species of delusion and persecution which the fallen race of Adam is heir to. although cases of possession are repeatedly mentioned in the Gospels and Acts of the Apostles. that although Satan was allowed. in the time of its Founder and His immediate disciples. It is evident that. — whereas. It is indisputable that.

imposing the most horrible diseases. will hardly assent to any particular case. though they dare not deny a fundamental tenet of their church. We have therefore advanced an important step in our enquiry when we have ascertained that the witch of the Old Testament was not capable of anything beyond the . as the term was understood in the Middle Ages. and death itself. indeed. But it is still more just and equitable. of criminal prosecution and capital punishment. spreading pestilence among cattle. merely for the gratification of malignant spite or the enjoyment of some beastly revelry. It is alike inconsistent with the common sense of either that fiends should be permitted to work marvels which are no longer exhibited on the part of Heaven. After their conquest and dispersion they were remarked among the Romans for such superstitious practices. for what we know. We have avoided controversy on that head. without nearly the same evidence which might conquer the incredulity of their neighbours the Protestants. before punishment be inflicted for any crime. doing more evil than the heart of man might be supposed capable of conceiving. transforming their own persons and those of others at their pleasure. may continue to linger among the benighted wanderers of their race at the present day. It will be observed that we have not been anxious to decide upon the limits of probability on this question. most just and equitable would be those laws which cut them off from the midst of every Christian commonwealth. in which. raising tempests to ravage the crops of their enemies. the fortune and the fame. We have already alluded to this as the contract of witchcraft. the demon and the witch or wizard combined their various powers of doing harm to inflict calamities upon the person and property. the purpose of which was to discover whether any real evidence could be derived from sacred history to prove the early existence of that branch of demonology which has been the object. The Roman Catholics. to prove that there is a possibility of that crime being committed. If it could be supposed that such unnatural leagues existed. It is not necessary for us to ascertain in what degree the power of Satan was at liberty to display itself during the Jewish dispensation. by means far beyond mere human power to accomplish. and. Little benefit could arise from attaining the exact knowledge of the manner in which the apostate Jews practised unlawful charms or auguries. or down to what precise period in the history of the Christian Church cures of demoniacal possession or similar displays of miraculous power may have occurred. but few Protestants are disposed to bring it down beneath the accession of Constantine. because it com-prehends questions not more doubtful than unedifying. but the enlightened even of this faith. and the like. or carryiug them home to their own garners 3 annihilating or transferring to their own dairies the produce of herds. when the Christian religion was fully established in supremacy.power was withdrawn from the Church. in a word. infecting and blighting children. and that there were wretches wicked enough. in comparatively modern times. But all these things are extraneous to our enquiry. to become the wretched slaves of infernal spirits. or in behalf of religion. boldly affirm that the power of miraculous interference with the course of Nature is still in being. as marks of their slightest ill-will. of innocent human beings.

where their abode gave so much scandal and offence to the devout. however. only so many names of the arch-fiend and his principal angels. in a future part of this enquiry. but already anticipating the privileges proper to a state of beatitude and glory. We will. Romance. that the more modern system of witchcraft was a part. that there were open displays of supernatural aid afforded by the evil spirits to the Turks and Saracens. and possessing the power to work miracles. we deny the possibility of a crime which was declared capital in the Mosaic law. combined in representing all who were out of the pale of the Church as the personal vassals of Satan. To pass from the pagans of antiquity — the Mahommedans. were accounted worshippers of evil spirits. in other words. and are left at full liberty to adopt the opinion. universal faith and credit. favoured the progress of a belief which certainly contributed in a most powerful manner to extend their own authority over the human mind. and the churchmen. in the opinion of the Western Crusaders. of that mass of errors which appeared among the members of the Christian Church when their religion. endeavour to show that many of the particular articles of the popular belief respecting magic and witchcraft were derived from the opinions which the ancient heathens entertained as part of their religion.administration of baleful drugs or the practising of paltry imposture. becoming gradually corrupted by the devices of men and the barbarism of those nations among whom it was spread showed. though their profession of faith is exclusively unitarian. that she did not hold the character ascribed to a modern sorceress. We have thus removed out of the argument the startling objection that. Termagaunt. the tendency to belief in supernatural agencies is natural. and Mahound. and by no means the least gross. it is very possible that particular stories of this class may have seemed undeniable in the dark ages. To recommend them. To show the extreme grossness of these legends. they had principles lying deep in the human mind and heart of all times. who played his deceptions openly amongst them. The most enormous fictions spread abroad and believed through Christendom attested the fact. though our better instructed period can explain them in a satisfactory manner by the excited temperament of spectators. They obtained. or to protect and defend them in the Holy Land. and even history. or the influence of delusions produced by derangement of the intellect or imperfect reports of the external senses. in denying the existence of witchcraft. however. but one deeply tinged with the remains of that very pagan ignorance which its Divine Founder came to dispel. or of holy men yet in the flesh. we may give an example from the . and Apollo were. and indeed seems connected with and deduced from the invaluable conviction of the certainty of a future state. and fictitious reports were not less liberal in assigning to the Christians extraordinary means of defence through the direct protection of blessed saints and angels. Moreover. a light indeed. who were supposed to aid them in their continual warfare against the Christians. either from craft or from ignorance.

The enchanted foal was sent to King Richard in the belief that the foal. with the present of a colt recommended as a gallant warhorse. confident of his stratagem. like other romances. A Saracen clerk had conjured two devils into a mare and her colt. under this seemingly chivalrous defiance was concealed a most unknightly stratagem.romance of ” Richard Coeur de Lion. had dispatched an embassy to King Richard. The fiend-horse intimated his submission by drooping his head. rode forth to meet Saladin. and narrowly escaped death. Richard. which appeared at Rome in the sixteenth century. could not obey the signal. the foal. the chart. It is but an awkward tale of wonder where a demon is worsted by a trick which could hardly have cheated a common horse-jockey. Saladin was dismounted. with the instruction. but the sucking devil. but his word was not entirely credited. for want. of an accurate account of the country. previously to the combat. it may be supposed. armed with scimitars and dressed in caftans. that whenever the mare neighed. and the theological question whether the God of the Christians. should be the future object of adoration by the subjects of both monarchs. till their belief respecting the demons of the Holy Land seems to have been not very far different from that expressed in the title of Ben Jonson's play. which was a brute of uncommon size. The renowned Saladin. for the purpose of deciding at once their pretensions to the land of Palestine. and such districts. His ears were stopped with wax. Lithuania. armed at all points and with various marks of his religious faith displayed on his weapons. whom the wax prevented from hearing the summons. conjured in the holy name to be obedient to his rider during the encounter. visibly present to them. Courland. In this condition. but a real narrative of facts. exhibits rude cuts of the fur-clad natives paying homage at the shrines of demons. obeying the signal of its dam as usual. it is said. challenging Coeur de Lion to meet him in single combat between the armies. “ The Devil is an Ass. or Jupiter. In Esthonia. or other military associations formed for the conversion or expulsion of the heathens in these parts. but by such legends our ancestors were amused and interested. encountered him boldly. and was addressed to hearers and readers. not as a tale of fiction.” One of the earliest maps ever published. and the Soldan. while at other places they are displayed as doing battle with the Teutonic knights. it was written in what the author designed to be the Style of true history. intimates a similar belief in the connexion of the heathen nations of the north of Europe with the demons of the spiritual world. so that the legend is a proof of what the age esteemed credible and were disposed to believe as much as if had been extracted from a graver chronicle. should kneel down to suck his dam. Amid the pagans. . the Soldan who mounted the mare might get an easy advantage over him. who make themselves.” premising at the same time that. while his army were cut to pieces by the Christians. the deity of the Saracens. and the colt was. the fiends are painted as assisting them. by the celestial mandate. Now. and which we may at the same time call a very clumsy trick for the devil to be concerned in. The mare neighed till she shook the ground for miles around. But the English king was warned by an angel in a dream of the intended stratagem.

he paid his homage to the Holy Virgin. he dropped on his knees. and if the images themselves were not actually tenanted by evil spirits. We learn from the information of a Portuguese voyager that even the native Christians (called those of St. or. fell under suspicion of diabolical practices. In South America the Spaniards justified the unrelenting cruelties exercised on the unhappy natives by reiterating in all their accounts of the countries which they discovered and conquered. It was almost in vain that the priests of one of their chapels produced to the Portuguese officers and soldiers a holy image. or cunning men. The cloven foot is the attribute of Pan — to whose talents for inspiring terror we owe the word panic — the snaky tresses are borrowed from the shield of Minerva. the worship which the Mexicans paid to them was founded upon such deadly cruelty and dark superstition as might easily be believed to have been breathed into mortals by the agency of hell. possessed as they were professionally of some skill in jugglery and the knowledge of some medical herbs and secrets. Even in North America. to raise themselves to influence among the chiefs. . that the Indians. added the loud protest. themselves intimate the connexion of modern demonology with the mythology of the ancients. and the dragon train alone seems to be connected with the Scriptural history. whose creeds could not have directly contributed to the system of demonology. as the Germans term it. were nevertheless involved. and the hideous form which he had produced resembled an inhabitant of the infernal regions so much more than Our Lady of Grace. gave but too much probability to this accusation. locks like serpents. saucer eyes. that one of the European officers. because their manners and even their very existence was unknown when it was adopted. By the account. in their idol worship. These attributes. It is scarce necessary to remark that this opinion was founded exclusively upon the tricks practised by the native powahs. the understanding of the colonists was unable to trace to their real source — legerdemain and imposture. and tail like a dragon. The sculptor had been so little acquainted with his art. whom the discoverers found in India when they first arrived there. as good Christians. * Other heathen nations. which. like his companions. the first settlers in New England and other parts of that immense continent uniformly agreed that they detected among the inhabitants traces of an intimate connexion with Satan. Thomas). were favoured by the demons with a direct intercourse. while. horse's foot. that if the image represented the Devil. in the same charge of witchcraft and worship of demons brought by the Christians of the Middle Ages against the heathens of northern Europe and the Mahommedans of the East. and to obtain esteem with the people. The great snake-god of Mexico. so soon as Europeans became acquainted with them.pourtrayed in all the modern horrors of the cloven foot. and other idols worshipped with human sacrifices and bathed in the gore of their prisoners. and called on them. it may be cursorily noticed. to adore the Blessed Virgin. bat wings. and that their priests inculcated doctrines and rites the foulest and most abhorrent to Christian ears.

who never pretended to astrological knowledge. To them. often dedicated their children to the gods. in his Magnalia . I will try what I can do . Among the numberless extravagances of the Scottish Dissenters of the 17th century. and attended the public worship on the Lord's days He declared that he could not blame her. but they became such. debarring sleep. that. This powah. that this powah's wife was accounted a godly woman. but added. had mistaken the purpose of the tolerant powah.” It appears. * he does not ascribe to these Indian conjurers any skill greatly superior to a maker of almanacks or common fortuneteller. and lived in the practice and profession of the Christian religion. but few obtained their desire. and whither carried.' which diverted the man from further enquiry. his god's continued kindness obliged him not to forsake his service. for that she served a god that was above his. and therefore highly esteemed and reverenced their priests. 'If you can believe that my god may help you. I must a little digress. while he found an ingenious apology in the admitted superiority which he naturally conceded to the Deity of a people. there must be given the plainest demonstration of mortals having familiarity with infernal spirits. or in the use of certain rites and ceremonies. &c. obtain familiarity with the infernal spirits. but that as to himself. I am willing to let my reader know.” says the Doctor. and educated them accordingly. as they esteemed it. or wizards. being by an Englishman worthy of credit (who lately informed me of the same). The latter only desired to elude the necessity of his practices being brought under the observant eye of an European. that Dr. as he might well conceive. From another narrative we are entitled to infer that the European wizard was held superior to the native sorcerer of North America.however. here died one of the powahs. after a little pausing. Nor were all powahs alike successful in their addresses. they addressed themselves in all difficult cases: yet could not all that desired that dignity. advanced. out of zeal. since himself served another God? that therefore he could not help him. so far above his own in power and attainments. now canonized in a lump by those who . observing a certain diet. yet could precisely. the powah. from whence goods stolen from them were gone. as might reasonably infer a corresponding superiority in the nature and objects of their worship. Cotton Mather. that parents. who were esteemed as having immediate converse with the gods. She constantly prayed in the family. “ universally acknowledged and worshipped many gods. not only by the approbation. desired to advise him who had taken certain goods which had been stolen. nor was he ever known to endeavour to conceal his knowledge to be immediately from a god subservient to him that the English worship. having formerly been an eye-witness of his ability. therefore. and tell my reader. powahs. but encouragement of her husband. not many years since. from the above and similar passages..: yet of the many designed. inform such who desired his assistance. book vi. In so much. with many things of the like nature. which tradition had left as conducing to that end. demanded why he requested that from him. either by immediate revelation. of the Reverend Cotton Mather. but sufficiently credulous man. an honest and devout. “ They. Supposing that where the practice of witchcraft has been highly esteemed.

“ about the year 1720. and beat him so severely that the Test were afraid that he had killed him outright. as an act of solemn adherence to their new faith. since we find them honouring this poor madman as their superior. a party of real or imaginary French and Indians exhibited themselves occasionally to the colonists of the town of Gloucester. sat howling like a chastised cur. and offering sacrifices to him. and showed themselves in their likeness. between Airth and Stirling. though sufficiently emphatic. however. two of them took turn about to hold him down by force. Thus. and the rest of the Dissenters. of the North American Indians was not of a nature to be much apprehended by the British colonists. a Cameronian. went the wildest lengths of enthusiasm. to avoid the repetition of the discipline. dashed the maniac with his feet and hands against the wall. a person called Jamie. John Gibb. from his size. were nevertheless much offended that these poor mad people were not brought to capital punishment for their blasphemous extravagances. Gibb headed a party. New England. Meikle John Gibb. As Meikle John Gibb. called. After which specimen of fraternal chastisement. whenever the prisoners began worship. and committed to prison. he considered the discipline of the house of correction as more likely to bring the unfortunate Gibbites to their senses than the more dignified severities of a public trial and the gallows. and. to the great annoyance of the colonists. it occurred to the settlers that the heathen Indians and Roman Catholic Frenchmen were particularly favoured by the demons. But as these visitants. The Cameronians. who followed him into the moorlands. by whom they .” says Walker. since the natives themselves gave honour and precedence to those Europeans who came among them with the character of possessing intercourse with the spirits whom they themselves professed to worship. They were apprehended inconsequence. when it applied to themselves. and imputed it as a fresh crime to the Duke of York that. was much admired by the heathen for his familiar converse with the devil bodily. and silence him by a napkin thrust into his mouth. and the dispatching a strong reinforcement to the assistance of the settlement. besides twenty or thirty females who adhered to them. who sometimes adopted their appearance.”* We Must necessarily infer that the pretensions of the natives to supernatural communication could not be of a high class. in the year 1692. But on being finally transported to America.view them in the general light of enemies to Prelacy. alarmed the country around very greatly. burned their Bibles. the lunatic. “ He died there. we are assured. with his own napkin crammed into his mouth. in the county of Essex. who was their comrade in captivity. that the magic. This mode of quieting the unlucky heretic. however differently they were affected by the persecution of Government. ran behind the door. This man. did their best to correct this scandalous lenity. George Jackson. who afterwards suffered at the gallows. and there. skirmished repeatedly with the English. being deemed ineffectual or inconvenient. though he could not be often accused of toleration. or powahing. in general. and caused the raising of two regiments. used to disturb their worship in jail by his maniac howling. and one or two other men. Notwithstanding this inferiority on the part of the powahs. was a certain ship-master. and at the Ford Moss.

existed through all Europe. never killed or scalped any one.” vol. the English became convinced that they were not real Indians and Frenchmen. that the commonly received doctrine of demonology.” and Wodrow's ” History.” book vii. were so rooted in the minds of their successors. article xviii. ii. or diseases to which the human frame is liable — to have been largely augmented by what classic superstitions survived the ruins of paganism-and to have received new contributions from the opinions collected among the barbarous nations. presenting the same general outlines. that the ideas of superstition which the more ignorant converts to the Christian faith borrowed from the wreck of the classic mythology. p. * “Magnalia. and endeavour to trace from what especial sources the people of the Middle Ages derived those notions which gradually assumed the shape of a regular system of demonology. engraved in bronze about the end of the 15th century.” LETTER III.” * See Patrick Walker's ” Biographia Presbyteriana. that these found corroboration of their faith in demonology in the practice of every pagan nation whose destiny it was to encounter them as enemies. Cardinal Stephen Borgia. 23. Creed of Zoroaster-Received partially into most Heathen Nations Instances among the Celtic Tribes of Scotland — Beltane Feast — Gudeman's Croft-Such abuses admitted into Christianity after the earlier Ages of the Church-Law of the Romans against Witchcraft — Roman customs survive the fall of their Religion — Instances Demonology of the Northern Barbarians-Niicksas-Bhar-geist-Correspondence between the Northern and Roman Witches — The power of Fascination ascribed to the Sorceresses-Example from the ” Eyrbiggia Saga” — The Prophetesses of the Germans — The Gods of Valhalla not highly regarded by their Worshippers — Often defied by the Champions — Demons of the North — Story of Assueit and Asmund — Action of Ejectment against Spectres — . for the molestation of the colony. * The chart alluded to is one of the facsimiles of an ancient planisphere. and called the Borgian Table. although seemingly not enabled effectually to support it. The fact is also alleged in the ” Life of Sir William Phipps.” upon the article John Gibb. also “ God's judgment upon Persecutors. It seems to have been founded originally on feelings incident to the human heart.were plagued more than a fortnight. though they exchanged fire with the settlers. but that the devil and his agents had assumed such an appearance. then. It is now necessary to enter more minutely into the question. whether of the east or of the west. In a word. * “On Remarkable Mercies of Divine Providence. it may be safely laid down. from its possessor. * It appears. though varied according to the fancy of particular nations. end preserved in his museum at Veletri. and that as well within the limits of Europe as in every other part of the globe to which their arms were carried.

THE creed of Zoroaster. leads the fear and awe deeply impressed on the human mind to the worship as well of the author of evil. in common with other savages. perhaps. so tremendous in all the effects of which credulity accounts him the primary cause. was yet in strict observance. which were formally dedicated to birds or beasts of prey that they. or consider the malignant divinities as sufficiently powerful to undertake a direct struggle with the more benevolent gods. This was so general a custom that the Church published an ordinance against it as an impious and blasphemous usage. in fact. might spare the flocks and herds. The Celtic tribes. or rather the being whose agents they were. called the gudeman' croft. it was supposed. like the TEMENOS of a pagan temple. though fast becoming obsolete. yet they thought it worth while to propitiate them by various expiatory rites and prayers. * Another custom of similar origin lingered late among us. in one modification or another. by whom. while it was generally understood. possessed. Remains of these superstitions might be traced till past the middle of the last century. or passing into mere popular customs of the country. and the cake.Adventure of a Champion with the Goddess Freya — Conversion of the Pagans of Iceland to Christianity — Northern Superstitions mixed with those of the Celts — Satyrs of the North-Highland Ourisk-Meming the Satyr. which was then baken with scrupulous attention to certain rites and forms. though varying in different districts of the Highlands. could not. and deprecated their vengeance. as to that of his great opponent. under various denominations. that they. might be merciful to suppliants who had acknowledged their power. such is the timid servility of human nature that the worshippers will neglect the altars of the Author of good rather than that of Arimanes. About 1769. the ceremony of the Baaltein. no one doubted that ” the goodman's croft” was set apart for some evil being. They did not. which the peasantry observe without thinking of their origin. supposes the co-existence of a benevolent and malevolent principle. which was never ploughed or cultivated. a natural tendency to the worship of the evil principle. Nay. Pennant made his tour. In many parishes of Scotland there was suffered to exist a certain portion of land. or First of May. and the elementary tempests which they conceived to be under their direct command. Beltane. but suffered to remain waste. trusting with indifference to the well-known mercy of the one. who is loved and adored as the father of all that is good and bountiful. . when Mr. Though it was not expressly avowed. while they shrink from the idea of irritating the vengeful jealousy of the awful father of evil. which naturally occurs to unassisted reason as a mode of accounting for the mingled existence of good and evil in the visible world — that belief which. whom our ancestors distinguished by a name which. was divided into fragments. which contend together without either being able decisively to prevail over his antagonist. be offensive to the stern inhabitant of the regions of despair. adore Arimanes under one sole name. Europe seems to have been originally peopled. that it was the portion of the arch-fiend himself.

* Now. If this was the case. but there must still be many alive who. When the cross became triumphant. but the high price of agricultural produce during the late war renders it doubtful if a veneration for greybearded superstition has suffered any one of them to remain undesecrated. On the contrary. finally. at the Divine pleasure. even in the Roman empire. or otherwise disturb them. dig earth and stones. they were liable. Within our own memory. and at the same time exposing them to persecution. the nations who were converted after Christianity had become the religion of the empire were not brought within the pale upon such a principle of selection. it is evident that the converts who thronged into the fold must have. entered because Christianity was the. These converts must have been in general such elect persons as were effectually called to make part of the infant church. who had. as well of language. as when the church consisted of a few individuals. as was frequently the . But this will not appear so wonderful when it is recollected that the original Christians under the heathen emperors were called to conversion by the voice of apostles and saints. have been taught to look with wonder on knolls and patches of ground left uncultivated. for the purpose of authenticating their mission. to be detected and punished. when. bow much more imperfectly could those foreign and barbarous tribes receive the necessary religious information from some zealous and enthusiastic preacher. among the earlier members of the church. invested for the purpose with miraculous powers. where the converts to the Christian faith must have found. as of cures. ploughshare entered the soil. because. whenever a. prevailing faith — many because it was the church. which they inconsistently laboured to unite with the more simple and majestic faith that disdained such impure union. many such places. to intrude themselves into so select an association. and when hypocrites ventured.This singular custom sunk before the efforts of the clergy in the seventeenth century. both in Wales and Ireland. many of them. sanctified to barrenness by some favourite popular superstition. it may at first sight seem strange that the Christian religion should have permitted the existence of such gross and impious relics of heathenism. in a. for communicating their doctrine to the Gentiles. For the same reason the mounts called Sith Bhruaith were respected. who christened them by hundreds in one day? Still less could we imagine them to have acquired a knowledge of Christianity. though content to resign the worship of pagan divinities. in the genuine and perfect sense of the word. could not at once clear their minds of heathen ritual and heathen observances. and its cause no longer required the direction of inspired men. to compel reluctant belief. as well as in Scotland. the members of which rose most readily to promotion — many. like Ananias and Sapphira. who. exchanged the errors of the pagan religion for the dangers and duties incurred by those who embraced a faith inferring the self-denial of its votaries. and it was deemed unlawful and dangerous to cut wood. upon conviction. land where its doctrines had obtained universal credence. in childhood. the elementary spirits were supposed to testify their displeasure by storm and thunder. existed. or the evidence of miracles. the readiest and the soundest instruction.

whose example they followed in mere love and loyalty. without. * For. they had not renounced the service of every inferior power.” If. he shall be punished capitally who disobeys our commands in this matter. entered the sanctuary without' laying aside the superstitions with which their young minds had been imbued. subjected to the avenging sword of the law. we look more closely into this enactment. as one relapsed to the rites of paganism. they might have been told that Constantine. in the history of the empire. although it condemns the ars mathematica (for the most mystic and uncertain of all sciences. the laws of the empire could have been supposed to have had any influence over those fierce barbarians. and declares that the practitioners therein should die by fire. therefore. The weight of the crime among the Jews was placed on the blasphemy of the diviners. attaching more consequence to a change of religion than to a change of garments. “ Let the unlawful curiosity of prying into futurity. we shall be led to conclude that the civil law does not found upon the prohibitions and penalties in Scripture. moved chiefly by the danger arising to the person of the prince and the quiet of the state. however. but neither weaned from their old belief. perhaps. and their treason against the theocracy instituted by Jehovah. martyrs. If. might be of opinion that. had denounced death against any who used these unlawful enquiries into futurity. nor instructed in their new one. would have been a crime of a deep dye in a Christian convert. so apt to be unsettled by every pretence or encouragement to innovation. and utterly interdicted. and confessors. indeed.” says the law. The Roman legislators were. and accustomed to a plurality of deities. professing themselves Christians. at a time when the church no longer consisted exclusively of saints. Some compromise between the fear and the conscience of the new converts. some of them who bestowed unusual thought on the matter. since we observe. Such hasty converts. who conceived that the empire itself lay before them as a spoil. he was at liberty to fear them in their new capacity of fiends. taking the offence of alleged magicians and sorcerers in the same light in which it was viewed in the law of Moses. The reigning emperors. in adopting the God of the Christians. were desirous to place a check upon the mathematics (as they termed the art of divination). but he might indulge his superstition by supposing that though he must not worship Pan or Ceres as gods. “ be silent in every one henceforth and for ever. they only assumed the profession of the religion that had become the choice of some favoured chief. and must have subjected him to excommunication. how often the dethronement or death of the sovereign was produced by conspiracies or mutinies which took their rise from pretended prophecies. real or pretended.* The mistaken and misplaced devotion which Horace recommends to the rural nymph. much more for a political than a religious cause.case. the lawyers of the lower empire acted upon the example of those who had compiled the laws of the twelve tables. Phidyle. on the other hand. the disciples . at that time held the title which now distinguishes the most exact) as a damnable art. In this mode of viewing the crime. as enemies of the human race — yet the reason of this severe treatment seems to be different from that acted upon in the Mosaical institutions.

to resort as a charm. although those by whom they are practised have not preserved the least memory of their original purpose. among a long list of stated festivals. appear so peculiarly favourable for that purpose. though the thrones of Jupiter and the superior deities of the heathen Pantheon were totally overthrown and broken to pieces. which. borrowed from the pagans. We may hastily mention one or two customs of classical origin. had these fanatics been aware of it. however fit a season for courtship. This objection to solemnize marriage in the merry month of May. the Scottish. which imparted to so rude nations the light of the Gospel. On the same occasion a sweet cake. and even their priestly guides. that the union was formed within this interdicted month. Vandals. to those sacrifices. This prejudice was so looted among the Scots that. and at least to the whole which was to the south of the wall of Severus. The ancients have given us as a maxim. and we ought rather to wonder and admire the Divine clemency. led them. than that they should. Goths. and all sorts of idle and silly practices which their tender consciences took an exception to. subject like themselves to human passions and errors. or retained numbers of those which had made part of their own national forms of heathenism. is lifted over the threshold. at the same time.* . not forgetting. by which the heathen. It was specially objected to the marriage of Mary with the profligate Earl of Bothwell. where it was observed as keeping in memory the rape of the Sabines. even of the better rank. would have been an additional reason for their anathema against the practice. called Gibbites. are in existence even at this late and enlightened period. This custom was universal in Rome. in addition to the Beltane and those already noticed. which genial season of flowers and breezes might. when she enters the house of her husband. fragments of their worship and many of their rites survived the conversion to Christianity — nay. have adopted many gross superstitions. popish relics. and ritual. if not as an act of worship. in 1684. Franks. and belong to this class: The bride. proposed to renounce it. avoid contracting marriage in the month of May. made them prone to an error which there were few judicious preachers to warn them against. in other respects. whom they had succeeded. and to step on it or over it voluntarily is reckoned a bad omen. those wild nations. is broken above the head of the bride. names of the months. which is also a rite of classic antiquity. fast-days. pretended to arrest evil or procure benefits. and that it was by a show of violence towards the females that the object of peopling the city was attained. a set of enthusiasts. that it is only had women who marry in that month. The following customs still linger in the south of Scotland.of inspired Apostles. and similar classes of unrefined humanity. In like manner. the ignorance of its conquerors. and disposed them to receive a religion so repugnant to their warlike habits. When such belief in a hostile principle and its imaginations was become general in the Roman empire. baked for the purpose. is also borrowed from the Roman pagans. words. Huns. Thus. which remain as examples that the manners of the Romans once gave the tone to the greater part of the island of Britain. the profane names of the days of the week.

as his name implies. also called a Dobie — a local spectre which haunts a particular spot under various forms — is a deity. whose spells could perplex the course of the elements. They recognized the power of Erictho. confesses his terror for this terrible being. who fears nothing else. and the hope that. But besides these. that it was dangerous to leave corpses unguarded lest they should be mangled by the witches. The Nixa of the Germans is one of those fascinating and lovely fays whom the ancients termed Naiads. when a person in company sneezes. The classic mythology presented numerous points in which it readily coalesced with that of the Germans. a river or ocean god. and particularly in Yorkshire. They were also professionally implicated in all such mystic and secret rites and ceremonies as were used to conciliate the favour of the infernal powers. or Nicksa. and disturb the original and destined course of Nature by their words and charms and the power of the evil spirits whom they invoked. by which name it is generally acknowledged through various country parts of England. worshipped on the shores of the Baltic. her temper is generally mild and her actions beneficent. and many other customs which the various nations of Europe received from the classical times. derived from sternutation being considered as a crisis of the plague at Athens. and the supernatural character with which he was invested has descended to our time under two different aspects. or Bhar-geist. when it was attained the patient had a chance of recovery. blended and mingled with those which they brought with them out of their own country. he had been not unnaturally chosen as the power most adverse to man. however the word may have been selected for a proper name. whose dispositions were supposed as dark and wayward as their realms were gloomy and dismal. and believes him the author of almost all the various calamities to which the precarious life of a seaman is so continually exposed. call down the moon from her appointed sphere. of Teutonic descent. as the author has been informed. and it was believed. Above all. and other sorceresses. passant. The Bhar-guest. and Northmen of a later period. and possesses a larger portion of his powers and terrors The British sailor. fostered and formed the materials of a demonological creed which has descended down almost to our own times. they derived from thence a shoal of superstitious beliefs.The custom of saying God bless you.* it plainly implies that. seems to have taken uncontested possession of the attributes of Neptune. by the vulgar at least. intercept the influence of the sun. who took from them the most choice ingredients composing their charms. and if it be true. Nixas. and which it is not our object to investigate. in their armorial bearings. in like manner. which. The Old Nick known in England is an equally genuine descendant of the northern sea-god. Amid the twilight winters and overpowering tempests of these gloomy regions. it must not be forgotten that these frightful sorceresses possessed the power of transforming themselves and others into . Such hags were frequent agents in the violation of unburied bodies. is. that some families bearing the name of Dobie carry a phantom or spectre. and unless her pride is insulted or her jealousy awakened by an inconstant lover. and prevent his beneficial operation upon the fruits of the earth. Danes. Canidia. its original derivation had not then been forgotten.

that it was no .* This species of witchcraft is well known in Scotland as the glamour . and even obtained a share in the direction of their armies. the people of the Middle Ages ascribed to the witches of their day. that. in greater or less extent. and such were the characteristics which. the hostile party.” They returned. or in whatever other laborious occupation belongs to the transformed state. “ that distaff was the man you sought. such as Lucian and Apuleius. But this second time. was accounted not an act of impiety. for prophetic powers. but of gallantry and high courage. which grovelled among the ashes. But in thus adopting the superstitions of the ancients. “ Alas !” said Katla. seized on the object of their animosity. by putting Oddo to death. and compel him to instruct them in what they desired to know. There is a remarkable story in the Eyrbiggia Saga (“ Historia Eyranorum"). It requires but a slight acquaintance with these compositions to enable the reader to recognize in the Galdrakinna of the Scalds the Stryga or witch-woman of more classical climates. for creating illusions. who in a brawl had cut off the hand of the daughter-in-law of Geirada. and burn it.” Accordingly. The poets of the heathens. combining them with the art of poisoning and of making magical philtres to seduce the affections of the young and beautiful. the witch disguised her son under the appearance of a tame kid. This peculiarity in the habits of the North was so general. augmented as one of Katla's maidens. they were at least able to impose such fascination on the sight of their enemies as to conceal for a period the objects of which they were in search. “ Fools. so much honoured among the German tribes. they said. or deceptio visus . with authors of fiction. who kept watch. if not capable of transformations of the human body. seized the distaff. “ it is the sorceress Geirada. the conquerors of the Roman Empire combined them with similar articles of belief which they had brought with them from their original settlements in the North. returned deceived by the skill of hismother. where the existence of hags of the same character formed a great feature in their Sagas and their Chronicles.” said Geirada. and was supposed to be a special attribute of the race of Gipsies. The party returned yet again. among those sons of the sword and the spear. A party detached to avenge this wrong. Their matrons possessed a high reputation for magic. In the northern ideas of witches there was no irreligion concerned with their lore. and to intrude themselves upon a deity. They had found only Katla. one of whom was determined on discovering and putting to death the son of the other. On the contrary. against whom spells avail not. and put him to death.animals. by one in a blue mantle. ascribe all these powers to the witches of the pagan world. informed her mistress. the possession of magical knowledge was an especial attribute of Odin himself. as we are assured by Tacitus. entering for the fourth time. A third time he was a hog. giving the result of such a controversy between two of these gifted women. and. spinning flax from a large distaff. which are used in their degree of quadrupeds. Neither are those prophetesses to be forgotten. they rose to the highest rank in their councils by their supposed supernatural knowledge. named Katla.

Nunc adsint!” And we cannot wonder that champions of such a character. arise to the degree of HAXA. not only with the sorcerers. the more they were detested. now universally used for a witch. when their mythology was most generally established. in the Iliad.” The warriors of the North received this new impression concerning the influence of their deities. they would not give way in fight even to the immortal gods themselves. by Gaukater. careless oftheir gods while yet acknowledged as such. they became dreaded for their power. or Swabians. of course. I therefore put my sole trust in my own strength of body and courage of soul. either despised as impostors or feared as sorceresses. and the source from which it was derived. but for that very reason they became odious so soon as the tribe was converted to Christianity. quod missile libro. and with like success. in the contest. from which comes the word Hexe. with the more indifference. My comrades and I profess no other religion than a perfect confidence in our own strength and invincibility in battle.” Such chieftains were of the sect of Mezentius — “ Dextra: mihi Deus. a tribe to whom the others yielded the palm of valour. and the degree of divine inspiration which was vouchsafed to them. and have never been conquered by them.” who threatens ” to make a god subscribe himself a devil. Bartholsine* gives us repeated examples of the same kind. The deities of the northern heathens underwent a similar metamorphosis. that the champions made it their boast. in particular instances. et telum. and many individual stories are told in the Sagas concerning bold champions. resembling that proposed by Drawcansir in the “ Rehearsal. I have travelled through various strange countries.” said Kiartan to Olaus Trigguasen. “ that I believe neither in idols nor demons. encountered the god Thor in battle. readily regarded them asdemons after their conversion to Christianity. engages with Mars. . Such. and the more that. if not victorious. Their idea of their own merely human prowess was so high. King of Norway. They were. as Diomede. but with the demigods of the system.” Another yet more broad answer was made to St. we learn from Cæsar.unusual thing to see females. under the conviction that they derived it from the enemy of man.* It is undeniable that these Pythonesses were held in high respect while the pagan religion lasted. or chief priestess. for example. Olaus. as we have already hinted. as their worship. if they pretended to retain their influence. “ I am neither Pagan nor Christian. a circumstance which plainly shows that the mythological system of the ancient natives of the North had given to the modern language an appropriate word for distinguishing those females who had intercourse with the spiritual world. who had fought. Hother. and come off unharmed. from respect to their supposed views into futurity. “ Know this. and have encountered many giants and monsters. was never of a very reverential or devotional character. was the idea of tbe Germans concerning the Suevi.

To incur the highest extremity of danger became accounted a proof ofthat insuperable valour for which every Northman desired to be famed. but binding them bya solemn compact. bound upon some high adventure and supported by a gallantband of followers. The story was told to the strangers.the blood of victims. He set hissoldiers to work. which. because itwas a favourite fancy of theirs that. The Norsemen were the more prone to these superstitions. that is. while his faithful. its departurewas occasionally supplied by a wicked demon. that after the death of either. arrived in the valley which took its name from thetomb of the brethren-in-arms.witches. possesses something striking tothe imagination. But the stoutest .implying not only the firmest friendship and constant support during allthe adventures which they should undertake in life. the survivor shoulddescend alive into the sepulchre of his brother-in-arms. The task of fulfilling this dreadful compactfell upon Asmund. partly to attain the arms and swords ofproof with which the deceased had done their great actions. With this purpose a deep narrow vault was constructed. without a word or look whichtestified regret or unwillingness to fulfil his fearful engagement.The tomb was formed after the ancient northern custom in what was calledthe age of hills. or champions. Years passed away after years. and laid bare the entrance. brother-in-armsentered and sat down by the corpse. who had formed what was called a brotherhood in arms. extravagant as it is. furies. introduced into the tomb the war-horses of thechampions. Saxo Grammaticus tells us of the fame of two Norseprinces or chiefs. perhaps. Here they deposited arms. that when the soul left the body. as alreadyhinted. whoseleader determined on opening the sepulchre. Upon such a supposition the wild fiction that follows is probablygrounded. when it was usual to bury persons ofdistinguished merit or rank on some conspicuous spot. in many instances. rolled a huge stone to the mouth of the tomb. trophies. Thesoldiers who had witnessed this singular interment of the dead andliving. whom the Kiempé. poured forth. tobe the apartment of the future tomb over which the sepulchral heap wasto be piled. Assueit. they dispersed themselves like a flock which has lost itsshepherd. and then. and when these rites had been duly paid. the body of Assueit wasplaced in the dark and narrow house. and yield to theirservice the weapons or other treasures which they guarded in theirtombs.and their annals afford numerous instances of encounters with ghosts. and fiends. which was crownedwith a mound. it was reckoned a heroic action to brave the anger of departedheroes by violating their tombs. his companion.compelled to submit to their mere mortal strength. and piled so muchearth and stones above the spot as made a mound visible from a greatdistance. and consent tobe buried alongst with him. or perhaps. with loud lamentation for the loss of such undauntedleaders. having been slain in battle. who took the opportunity toenter and occupy its late habitation. the change fromlife to death altered the temper of the human spirit from benignant tomalevolent. and soon removed the earth and stones from one side ofthe mound. and a century had elapsed ere a nobleSwedish rover. partly because.

nor were amenable to the prayers of the priest or the spells of the sorcerer. exposed to a persecution of this kind. and having first torn to piecesand devoured the horses which had been entombed with them. whilst thatof the victor. remind us of those adopted in the Greek islands and in theTurkish provinces against the vampire. the left side of his face almost scratched off. which was drawn upshortly after. Saga acquaints us. the clash of swords. whenthey had obtained possession of a building. The Eyrbiggia. the soldiers. hadfinally reduced him to the state of quiet becoming a tenant of the tomb. the survivor of the brethren-in-arms. but became tractable when properly convened in a legal process. some one threw him from the cord. When the rope was pulled up. calculated to introduce such persecution. But when the adventurerdescended. or rather against the evildemon who tenanted that champion's body. and the ashes dispersed to heaven. It seems that no sooner was thesepulchre closed than the corpse of the slain Assueit arose from theground. took to his arms. so that it was hoped his slumbers might remain undisturbed. The Northern people also acknowledged a kind of ghosts. and all thenoise of a mortal combat between two furious champions. originally to keep it secure in the tomb. He had no sooner appeared in the light of day.Having chanted the triumphant account of his contest and victory. The hero. sweeping off several . anddefended himself manfully against Assueit. or the right of haunting if. his armour halftorn from his body. burnt. in hopes of news from beneath. with the improvisatory poetic talent. the clang of armour. A young warriorwas let down into the profound tomb by a cord. The molestation was produced by the concurrence of certain mystical and spectral phenomena. was depositedthere.which these champions often united with heroic strength and bravery. a stake through his body. thismangled conqueror fell dead before them. * The precautions taken against Assueit's reviving asecond time. than. they heard withinhorrid cries. when a stake was driventhrough the body. with that slight exchange of darkness and twilight which constitutes night and day in these latitudes. threw himselfupon the companion who had just given him such a sign of devotedfriendship. a string of verses containing the history of his hundredyears' conflict within the tomb.of the roversstarted back when. In this manner the livingbrother waged a preternatural combat. as he boasted. who. and by driving. beheld Asmund. It affords also a derivation ofthe ancient English law in case of suicide. no waydiscountenanced by the horrors of his situation. like Assueit.did not defend themselves against mortals on the knightly principle ofduel. Herushed into the open air. The body of Assueit was takenout of the tomb. when Asmund. instead of theircompanion. at last obtaining the victory. bepoured forth. which had endured during a wholecentury. in order to treat him in the same manner. a contagious disease arose in a family of consequence and in the neighbourhood. that the mansion of a respectable landholder in Iceland was. instead of the silence of a tomb. his sword drawn in his hand. inspired by some ravenous goule. asby the talons of some wild beast. prostrated hisenemy. now lifeless and without a companion. soon after the settlement of that island. About the commencement of winter. which. and took his place in thenoose.

by name. who presently . together with her shrine. and the equipage was under the immediate guidance of the priestess of Freya. that the presence of the champion. and successfully entered into suits of ejectment. is the only comfortable place of assembling the family. the ghosts took it upon them to enter the house. like a modern caravan travelling with a show. was less satisfactory to the goddess than to the parties principally concerned. even in the stove where the fire was maintained for the general use of the inhabitants. named Snorro. and attractive woman. By a certain signal the divinity summoned the priestess to the sanctuary. as if to judge an ordinary civil matter. in an Iceland winter. or vanished. good-looking. By his counsel. was. met with a huge waggon. screened by boards and curtains from the public gaze. the young proprietor of the haunted mansion assembled a jury. But the remaining inhabitants of the place. apparently was in no degree displeased with the company of a powerful and handsome young man. in crossing a desolate ridge of mountains.c. seemed to threaten them all with death. obtained a triumph unknown to any of the great writers who have made it the subject of eulogy. and which. and even assaulting. The spectres of the dead. as she walked on foot.members of the family at different times. These daring champions often braved the indignation even of the superior deities of their mythology. terrifying. to show by what warrant they disputed with him and his servants the quiet possession of his property. and muttering some regrets at being obliged to abandon their dwelling. and in order as summoned. than to endure the neighbourhood of the phantoms. and his discourse with the priestess. and produce their aërial forms and wasted physiognomy. those of the living family who ventured abroad. rather than allow that there existed any being before whom their boldness could quail. Judgment then went against the ghosts by default. or inquest. Complaints were at length made to a pontiff of the god Thor. who exercised considerable influence in the island. constituted in the usual judicial form. to cite individually the various phantoms and resemblances of the deceased members of the family. of which we here can trace the origin. departed. was travelling from one district of the country to another. a young. or sanctuary of the idol. who. and the wealthy offerings attached to it. appeared on their being called. . in which the goddess Freya (i. and the trial by jury. in their presence. however.* It was not only with the spirits of the dead that the warlike people of the North made war without timidity. and proceeded. The shrine. It chanced. terrified by the intrusion of these spectres. The traveller naturally associated himself with the priestess. and abandon their warm seats. a gigantic idol formed to represent her). chose rather to withdraw to the other extremity of the house. Such is the singular story how a young man of high courage. as a guide and companion on the journey. from the astonished inquest. As the number of the dead members of the devoted household seemed to increase in proportion to that of the survivors. But the death of these persons was attended with the singular consequence that their spectres were seen to wander in the neighbourhood of the mansion-house. of his neighbours. and what defence they could plead for thus interfering with and incommoding the living.

but being unable to compel him to obey the goddess's mandate. to choose precipitous paths and by-roads. and their whole pagan mythology. the divinity of whose patroness had been by the event of the combat sorely lessened in her eyes. which advanced to such a point that a clattering noise within the tabernacle. Neither does it appear that Freya. according to the law of arms. dealt him. “ the goddess will be highly offended if you disobey her commands. nor can I conceal from you that she may personally assault you.” said the champion. ever again ventured to appear in person for the purpose of calling her false stewards to account.” said the champion. resembled in form the giant created by Frankenstein. as the necessary consequence of the vengeance of their deities. and with a severe blow hewed off its left leg. which leads me directly on my journey. they again relapsed into familiarity. having.” ” It will be at her own peril if she should be so audacious. and. the same who advised the inquest against the ghosts. and there displayed the shrine of Freya. Snorro. we may suppose. had become a convert to the Christian religion. But the champion was armed with a double edged Danish axe. and no longer travel in their company. The champion was now victor. and the massive and awkward idol. rushing on the in trusive traveller. was. Thor. with its wooden hands and arms. The Icelanders abandoned Odin. to inform her companion that it was the will of Freya that he should depart. leapt lumbering from the carriage. and was present on the occasion. in consideration of a single disputation between the heathen priests and the Christian missionaries. The priests threatened the island with a desolating eruption of the volcano called Hecla. that at length he split the head of the image. with which he bestirred himself with so much strength and activity.returned. perhaps. The curtains flew open.” said the priestess. ” Freya cannot have formed a wish so unreasonable as to desire I should abandon the straight and good road. “ You must have mistaken the meaning of the goddess. such tremendous blows. The image of Freya then fell motionless to the ground. and as the conference was held on the surface of what had been . of no deep or respectful character. where I may break my neck. with tears in her eyes and terror in her countenance. who. concerning whom such stories could be told and believed. of course. Freya. “ for I will try the power of this axe against the strength of beams and boards. besides appropriating to himself most of the treasures which the sanctuary had formerly contained. as of machinery put in motion. a sensible recollection of the power of the axe. The priestess. thought a personal interruption of this tête-à-tête ought to be deferred no longer. was now easily induced to become the associate and concubine of the conqueror. and the demon which had animated it fled yelling from the battered tenement. intimated to the travellers that Freya. The national estimation of deities. She accompanied him to the district whither he was travelling.” The priestess chid him for his impiety. taking care to hide the injuries which the goddess had received in the brawl. who perhaps had some qualities in common with the classical Vesta.” “ Nevertheless. and. took possession of the female and the baggage. The champion came in for a share of a gainful trade driven by the priestess. as were equally difficult to parry or to endure.

in the rock. whose power is rather delusive than formidable. or whether. to the arch-fiend. with which they have depicted the author of evil when it pleased him to show himself on earth. . should we venture to read — “And Pan to Satan lends his heathen born.a stream of lava. the nether extremities being in the latter form. as far as can be discovered. and whose supernatural pranks intimate rather a wish to inflict terror than to do hurt. hoofs. the same proneness of the human mind to superstition has caused that similar ideas are adopted in different regions. on the other hand. was received among the Northern people. the founders of the Scandinavian system. and is not the engine of vengeance intrusted to Thor and Odin. the horns. of the satyrs and other subordinate deities of wood and wild. having obtained the seed from the others. the ourisk has a mortal term of life and a hope of salvation. If we are to identify him with the Brown Dwarf of the Border moors. It is an idea which seems common to many nations. So that the alteration of a single word would render Pope's well-known line more truly adapted to the fact. the ourisk of the Celts was a creature by no means peculiarly malevolent or formidably powerful. affords to the wildest retreat in the romantic neighbourhood of Loch Katrine a name taken from classical superstition. or Asiatics.” It is evident that men who reasoned with so much accuracy concerning the imbecility of Odin and Thor were well prepared. respecting a goblin called Ourisk . which dwelt in wildernesses far removed from men. or Celtic ourisk. in the silvan form. but rather a melancholy spirit. now covered with vegetable substances. The classical fiction. derived them from some common Source with those of the Greeks and Romans. in the light of evil demons. he answered the priests with much readiness. for example. or rather hole. to consider their former deities. and perhaps transferred by them to the Celtic tribes. A species of cavern.” We cannot attribute the transferrence of the attributes of the Northern satyr. But there were some particulars of the Northern creed in which it corresponded so exactly with that of the classics as leaves room to doubt whether the original Asæ. as indeed the same high claim was made by the satyr who appeared to St. and his attendants something between a man and a goat. and tail. had. The existence of a satyr. is even pretended to be proved by the evidence of Saint Anthony. as the same plants are found in distant countries without the one. the eruption of the volcano depends on natural circumstances now as it did then. On the contrary. before their migration from Asia. “ To what was the indignation of the gods owing when the substance on which we stand was fluid and scorching? Believe me. men of Iceland. to any particular resemblance between the character of these deities and that of Satan. The Scottish Gael have an idea of the same kind. of whom they believed so much that was impious. whose form is like that of Pan. on abandoning their worship. It is not the least curious circumstance that from this silvan deity the modern nations of Europe have borrowed the degrading and unsuitable emblems of the goat's visage and form. to whom one is said to have appeared in the desert.

once gained a victory by disguising a part of his men with goat-skins. even in that lowest degradation. is by no means.” a tale which. some Churchman more learned than his brethren may have transferred the legend from Sicily to Duncrune. perhaps. though classic. as well as Celts. perhaps.Anthony. I think. seeming to argue some connexion or communication between these remote Highlands of Scotland and the readers of Homer in former days. but which we are astonished to find in an obscure district. After all. the High land ourisk was a species of lubber fiend. and angelic character expressed by the seraph form an extraordinary contrast to the poor conception of a being who ought not.” This species of degradation is yet grosser when we take into consideration the changes which . though similar in shape. The ourisk then entered. But as club-law pervaded the ancient system of Scandinavia. He may be. and in the Celtic tongue. and being there overtaken. who injured the machinery by setting the water on the wheel when there was no grain to be grinded. so as to resemble the ourisk . In Raffael's famous painting of the archangel Michael binding Satan. of a character different from the ourisk. on which is founded a story almost exactly like that of OUTIS in the “Odyssey. that the miller. and which was called the Son of the dark brown Luno. He was an armourer of extreme dexterity. the dignity. and demanded the Miller's name. from the name of the armourer who forged it. perhaps. and the weapons which he forged were of the highest value. that the wicked are described as goats in Scripture. the more rooted. to furnish the modern attributes ascribed to Satan in later times. from the shores of the Mediterranean to those of Loch Lomond. power. when the object of painter or poet was to display him in his true form and with all his terrors. and all the usual accompaniments of popular diablerie. The genius of Milton alone could discard all these vulgar puerilities. Even the genius of Guido and of Tasso have been unable to surmount this prejudice. Meming belonging to the Scandinavian mythology. hoofs. Rob Roy. and was informed that he was called Myself . It is related of one of these goblins which frequented a mill near the foot of Loch Lomond. and assign to the author of evil the terrible dignity of one who should seem not “less than archangel ruined. desiring to get rid of this meddling spirit. contrived to have a meeting with the goblin by watching in his mill till night. identified with the recusant smith who fled before Fingal from Ireland to the Orkneys. was compelled to forge the sword which Fingal afterwards wore in all his battles.* From this it will appear that there were originals enough in the mythology of the Goths. or Highland satyr. which we cannot account for. whom it was the boast of the highest champions to seek out in the solitudes which he inhabited. There was an individual satyr called. and capable of being over-reached by those who understood philology. I have heard it also told that the celebrated freebooter. Neither has Tasso been more happy. an elegant or ingenious fiction. where he represents the divan of darkness in the enchanted forest as presided over by a monarch having a huge tail. Meming had the humour of refusing to work for any customer save such as compelled him to it with force of arms. and that the devil is called the old dragon. to have seemed so unworthy an antagonist. Moreover.

powers. which Mr. having proved the return of his farm to be the produce of his own hard and unremitting labour. Both bearings are founded on what is called canting heraldry. There is a species of small intrenchment on the western descent of the Eildon hills. ix. says. The traveller mentions that some festival of the same kind was in his time observed in Gloucestershire. which seem to have been articles of faith both among the Celtic and Gothic tribes.” vol. it is necessary to make a pause before we enter upon the mystic and marvellous connexion supposed to exist between the impenitent kingdom of Satan and those merry dancers by moonlight. a species of art disowned by the writers on the science. 18. in his account of the parish of Melrose. and. minister of Aberfoyle. yet universally made use of by those who practise the art of blazonry. in a shroud sable passant. or chief priestess. adopted our present ideas of the devil as they are expressed by his nearest acquaintances. Robert Kirke. * See Pennant's “Scottish Tour. awakened storms. raised larger crops from a small field than his neighbours could obtain from more ample possession.popular opinions have wrought respecting the taste. and habits of tormenting. who carried of old a goblin. habits. Here an universal and subsisting tradition bore that human sacrifices were of yore offered. 7. p. by which the place is still known. still discernible. to distinguish the places where such females exercised their ritual. With this place of sacrifice communicated a path. 1. Pliny informs us that one Caius Furius Cresinus. 3.” lib. * See “Essay on the Subterranean Commonwealth. called the Haxell-gate. in ” Northern Antiquities. 5. But as this source of the mythology of the Middle Ages must necessarily comprehend some account of the fairy folk. a word of unknown derivation. Milne. while the people assisting could be hold the ceremony from the elevation of the glacis which slopes inward. the witches. was dismissed with the highest honours. 2. i. produced by his neighbours' farms.” by Mr. we must next notice another fruitful fountain of demonological fancies. leading to a small glen or narrow valley called the HaxelleIeuch—both which words are probably derived from the Haxa or chief priestess . * “Malæ nubent Maria. into his own possession. * “Codex. was denominated Bourjo . cap. III. or phantom. on a field azure.” * A similar bearing has been ascribed. or brought over to their barns and garners the fruits of the earth. which are such as might rather be ascribed to some stupid superannuated and doting ogre of a fairy tale. 6. the punishment of death was indeed denounced against those who destroyed crops. however. for the same reason. it left the agriculturists of the period at liberty to use the means they thought most proper to render their fields fertile and plentiful.” * It may be worth while to notice that the word Haxa is still used in Scotland in its sense of a druidess. * Eyrbiggia Saga. Cresinus appeared. as well as superior skill. to whom much of it must be referred. to those of the name of Fantome. Having. but. modes of tempting. He was brought before the judge upon a charge averring that he conjured the fruits of the earth. a Roman of mean estate. 8. drawn up about eighty years ago. by good fortune. from the accounts of satyrs. than to the powerful-minded demon who fell through pride and rebellion. * By this more ancient code. not through folly or incapacity. tit.

i.” lib. Dan. or Fins — “The Niebelungen-Lied” — King Laurin's Adventure — Celtic Fairies of a gayer character. The Fairy Superstition is derived from different sources — The Classical Worship of the Silvans. but the Irish ballad. noble. or Rural Deities.. impress the mind with a sense of awe mingled with pleasure. with a wink. and a vicinity more delightfully appropriate to the abode of the silvan deities can hardly be found. Welsh. before their time.” lib. and even royal blood. although more . and usually added. and its extensive lawn — form altogether a kingdom for Oberon and Titania to reign in. and Manxmen held the same belief — It was rather rendered more gloomy by the Northern Traditions — Merlin and Arthur carried off by the Fairies — Also Thomas of Erceldoune — His Amour with the Queen of Elfland — His re-appearance in latter times — Another account from Reginald Scot — Conjectures on the derivation of the word Fairy. made yet more remarkable by the fame which has rendered them in some sort classical. that the classics had not forgotten to enrol in their mythology a certain species of subordinate deities. used to point out. “Hist. LETTER IV. were obliged to give place to deities very nearly resembling themselves in character. unite their streams beneath the vestiges of an extensive castle. both Infants and Adults — Adventures of a Butler in Ireland — The Elves supposed to pay a Tax to Hell — The Irish. is nowhere introduced. ye ken. yet their pleasures empty and illusory — Addicted to carry off Human Beings. “Æneid. and fauns with whom superstition peopled the lofty banks and tangled copses of this romantic country. These silvans. arising out of groves of aged trees — the modern mansion of Fleurs. which has been shed around and before it — a landscape ornamented with the distant village and huge abbey tower of Kelso.”* This relic of antiquity was discovered near Roxburgh Castle. WE may premise by observing. one which is consecrated. Good old Mr. * Eyrbiggia Saga. v. of which the majesty. and even the beauty. line 773 * See Saxo Grammaticus. and for the valiant. amongst the ancient altars under his charge. resembling the modern elves in their habits.of the pagans. or any spirit who. * “De causis contemptæ necis. “The fairies. or Dwarfs — Supposed to be derived from the Northern Laps. x. cap 6. might love scenery. satyrs. renowned in the wars with England. by his knowledge of that noble collection. Highlanders. See “Northern Antiquities. of the Advocates' Library (whom all lawyers whose youth he assisted in their studies. its woods. MacPherson's paraphrases. Two rivers of considerable size. Gibb.” lib. are bound to name with gratitude). proved by Roman Altars discovered — The Gothic Duergar. Diis campestribus. which gives a spirited account of the debate between the champion and the armourer.” * The weapon is often mentioned in Mr. with its terrace. who probably derive some of their attributes from their classic predecessors.

than the fairies (properly so called). but sometimes also they were indulgent to individuals whom they took under their protection.immediately allied to the barbarian conquerors. and in all respects less propitious to humanity. from which the English goblin and the Scottish bogle. or dwarfs. diminutive race. but possessed of some skill probably in mining or smelting minerals. In the “Niebelungen-Lied. which were the invention of the Celtic people. and were often seen in the mines. are evidently derived. found the first idea of the elfin people in the Northern opinions concerning the duergar. be judges of weather. but it was a bolder stretch of the imagination which confounded this reserved and sullen race with the livelier and gayer spirit which bears correspondence with the British fairy. by some inversion and alteration of pronunciation. should exhibit a darker and more malignant character than the elves that revel by moonlight in more southern climates. it must be owned. They were a little. are certainly among the most pleasing legacies of fancy. the character of the German spirits called Kobold. with which the country abounds. Lettish. has been generally ascribed to their race.” one of the . however. who exhausted on this subject. who. especially if neglected or insulted. from their acquaintance with the changes of the clouds. led very naturally to identify the Fin. ascribed by many persons to this source. who haunted the dark and solitary places. it has been plausibly supposed that these poor people. or meteorological phenomena. who sought caverns and hiding-places from the persecution of the Asæ. as received into the popular creed. flying before the conquering weapons of the Asæ. or even luck. The Kobolds were a species of gnomes. than his fellow-workmen. more laborious vocation. The employment and apparent occupation of these subterranean gnomes or fiends. According to the old Norse belief. a profusion of learning. there seems reason to conclude that these duergar were originally nothing else than the diminutive natives of the Lappish. and sometimes took pleasure in frustrating their objects and rendering their toil unfruitful. industry. Perhaps also they might. naturally enough. and there endeavoured to hide themselves from their Eastern invaders. Dr. therefore.* These were. hit upon a rich vein of ore. and more malignant temper. not that he possessed more skill. We allude to the fairies. These oppressed yet dreaded fugitives obtained. and displayed that superiority of taste and fancy which. spirits of a coarser sort. were in some respects compensated for inferiority in strength and stature by the art and power with which the superstition of the enemy invested them. or Laplander. Neither can we be surprised that the duergar. with the Kobold. these dwarfs form the current machinery of the Northern Sagas. through its various classes and modifications. When a miner. as upon most others. and as described by the poets who have made use of them as machinery. and so enjoy another title to supernatural skill. In fact. Sometimes they were malignant. but that the spirits of the mine had directed him to the treasure. where they seemed to imitate the labours of the miners. and Finnish nations. with the love of music and poetry. and their inferiority in size is represented as compensated by skill and wisdom superior to those of ordinary mortals. the inference commonly was. Leyden. which. sought the most retired regions of the North. At any rate.

in most other respects. they appeared in deep caverns and among horrid rocks. as already hinted. 1670. and compiled. or Biergen-Trold — i. But it is not only. At . or of Verona. enthusiasm concerning national music and dancing. was acknowledged. Their elves did not avoid the society of men. The Irish. March 12. figures among a cycle of champions over whom he presides. Their government was always represented as monarchical. who dates his description of Ferro from his Pathos. national poetry and song. that they haunted the places where murders or other deeds of mortal sin had been acted. They appear to have been the genuine northern dwarfs. in Thorshaven. Lucas Jacobson Debes. condemned to fill the dishonourable yet appropriate office of buffoon and juggler at the Court of Verona.e. but as he attempted by treachery to attain the victory. they were usually wantonly given and unexpectedly resumed. than the sullen and heavy toils of the more saturnine Duergar. the benefits. and are considered by the reverend author as something very little better than actual fiends. Their pageants and court entertainments comprehended all that the imagination could conceive of what was. and who may. the amusements of the Fairy court. which rendered it dangerous to displease them. and adds. another pronunciation of Trollds. We have already observed. not long after the time of Attila. all tribes of Celtic descent.oldest romances of Germany. from the remotest ages. as also. the spirits of the woods and mountains. assigned to the Men of Peace. accounted gallant and splendid. like the Charlemagne of France or Arthur of England. valleys. He becomes a formidable opponent to Theodorick and his chivalry. were deeply blended with the attributes which the Celtic tribes had. resembled the aerial people themselves. ascribed to their deities of rocks. the Gael. to the Gothic race that we must trace the opinions concerning the elves of the middle ages. The actors in these disturbances he states to be the Skow . * Such possession of supernatural wisdom is still imputed by the natives of the Orkney and Zetland Islands to the people called Drows . though they behaved to those who associated with them with caprice. or Scottish Highlander. being a corruption of duergar or dwarfs . or even chiefly. or Dwarf Laurin. and leads to an. it would seem. when overcome. the departments in which fancy most readily indulges herself. more frequently a Queen of Fairies. dedicates a long chapter to the spectres who disturbed his congregation. a sort of persons seldom supposed to be themselves conjurers. and forests.. Theodorick of Bern. be identified with the Caledonian fairies. the Welsh. The employment. A King. and sometimes both held their court together. and a course of existence far more gay. or Trows. and although their gifts were sometimes valuable. and who had a body-guard of giants. these. sometimes called subterranean people. what indeed makes a great feature of their national character. or by whatever other names they called these sylvan pigmies. more social habits. Good Neighbours. whose dwelling was in an enchanted garden of roses. that the power of the imagination is peculiarly active among the Celts. and sometimes carried off his hearers. by that age. Among others vanquished by him is the Elf King. he is.

but adults were also liable to be abstracted from earthly commerce. to mark the direct line of his course. and invited him to join in their revel. unsavoured by salt (prohibited to them. One injury of a very serious nature was supposed to be constantly practised by the fairies against “the human mortals. with transporting him through the air to a city at some forty miles' distance. must have been engaged in some action which exposed him to the power of the spirits. because an emblem of eternity). within which the Fairy court happened to be held for the time. their pleasures were showy. a neighbour of the Earl of Orrery. the board was set forth with a splendour which the proudest kings of the earth dared not aspire to. or in the act of giving way to some headlong and sinful passion. but a friendly voice from the party whispered in his ear. The young knights and beautiful ladies showed themselves as wrinkled carles and odious hags-their wealth turned into slate-stones — their splendid plate into pieces of clay fantastically twisted — and their victuals. they had propensities unfavourable and distressing to mortals.” tells us of the butler of a gentleman. he saw a table surrounded by people apparently feasting and making merry. and the hall of their dancers echoed to the most exquisite music. exposed themselves also to become inmates of Fairyland. in his “Eighteenth Relation. but totally unsubstantial — their activity unceasing. it may be easily conceived that the want of the sacred ceremony of introduction into the Christian church rendered them the more obnoxious to the power of those creatures. Others. on the other hand. on such occasions. and breeding them as beings of their race. It was well for the individual if the irate elves were contented. The same belief on these points obtained in Ireland. “Do nothing . At their daily banquets. his hat or bonnet on some steeple between. when engaged in some unlawful action.” that of carrying off their children. and so.their processions they paraded more beautiful steeds than those of mere earthly parentage — the hawks and hounds which they employed in their chase were of the first race. but fruitless and unavailing — and their condemnation appears to have consisted in the necessity of maintaining the appearance of constant industry or enjoyment. had nevertheless. and leaving. Glanville. and were accounted by most divines as belonging to a very different class. perhaps. was a very ready mode of obtaining a pass for Elfland.” Sleeping on a fairy mount. who was sent to purchase cards. little right. Unchristened infants were chiefly exposed to this calamity. They rose to salute him. In a word. to rank themselves among good spirits.” Besides the unceasing and useless bustle in which these spirits seemed to live. though their toil was fruitless and their pleasures shadowy and unsubstantial. An adult. considering their constant round of idle occupation. notwithstanding it was their natural sphere. as the legal phrase went. Hence poets have designed them as “the crew that never rest. With respect to the first. if not to be in all respects considered as fiends. But when viewed by the eye of a seer the illusion vanished. who. became tasteless and insipid — the stately halls were turned into miserable damp caverns — all the delights of the Elfin Elysium vanished at once. we are told. “taken in the manner. In crossing the fields.

They raised him in the air above the heads of the mortals. were most apt to be seized upon and carried off to Elfland before their death. be had not suffered so much by their means. while they were yet inhabitants of middle earth. “I lived a loose life. the table vanished. as it is said by some authorities. but in spite of the exertions of my Lord Ornery. averred that she had recognised in the Fairy court the celebrated Secretary Lethington and the old Knight of Buccleuch. It is pretended that Lord Orrery confirmed the whole of this story. The reason assigned for this kidnapping of the human race. but neither in this would the mortal join them. He indeed adds that. but the butler would not take part in these recreations. Greatrix. Only he did not bear witness to the passage which seems to call the purchase of cards an unlawful errand. is said to be that they were under a necessity of paying to the infernal regions a yearly tribute out of their population.” He added. who could only run beneath.which this company invite you to. which it was not always safe to attempt. in spite of two bishops who were his guests at the time. persons carried off by sudden death were usually suspected of having fallen into the hands of the fairies. rather than their own. that he was then going on an unlawful business. when he refused to join in feasting. moreover. with the company you saw. to break his fall when they pleased to let him go. as Alison Pearson. and at length discovered himself to be the ghost of an acquaintance who had been dead for seven years. From this it must be inferred. and particularly by Mr. and ever since have I been hurried up and down in a restless condition. and betook themselves to work. Upon the whole. it was all they could do to prevent the butler from being carried off bodily from amongst them by the fairies. the one of whom had been the most busy politician. even to having seen the butler raised into the air by the invisible beings who strove to carry him off. and. were sometimes surreptitiously carried off to Fairyland. that they have off-spring among themselves. in spite of the celebrated Mr.” added he. after a certain length of life. “that if the butler had acknowledged God in all his ways. so peculiar to the elfin people. and shall be till the day of judgment. these spirits are subject to the universal lot of mortality . the minister of Aberfoyle. “You know. which they were willing to defray by delivering up to the prince of these regions the children of the human race. the sorceress who cured Archbishop Adamson. were doomed to conclude their lives with them. and unless redeemed from their power. whose lives had been engaged in intrigues of politics or stratagems of war. during the reign of that unfortunate queen. He was then left alone for the present. They then left off dancing. We must not omit to state that those who had an intimate communication with these spirits. who considered him as their lawful prey. The spectre which formerly advised the poor man continued to haunt him. the other one of the most unwearied partisans of Queen Mary. and the company began to dance and play on musical instruments. he reminded him that he had not prayed to God in the morning before be met with this company in the field.” Accordingly. Kirke. * Individuals.

then called Reged. indifferently. upon the ghostly eve of AllHallow Mass. the Hecate of this mythology. which had done so much to preserve British independence. since we find. It was from the same source also. that the Isle of Man. in all probability. and that renowned wizard. it seems to be by their disposition to divide into factions and fight among themselves — a pugnacity characteristic of the Green Isle. sorceresses and elves. became.* In Italy we hear of the hags arraying themselves under the orders of Diana (in her triple character of Hecate. the popular system of the Celts easily received the northern admixture of Drows and Duergar. could no longer avert the impending ruin.— a position. which. agree in the same general attributes with those of Ireland and Britain. from the lively and entertaining legends published by Mr. however. Waldron. or the wild. The Welsh fairies. which infers existence as eternal as the fire which is not quenched. It may be conjectured that there was a desire on the part of Arthur or his surviving . We know. though in most cases told with the wit of the editor and the humour of his country. doubtless) and Herodias. perhaps. Such as it was. beyond other places in Britain. were both said by tradition to have been abstracted by the fairies. barrister-at-law. Of these early times we can know little. The opinions on the subject of the fairy people here expressed. a darker colouring than originally belonged to the British fairyland. on the island being conquered by the Norse. contain points of curious antiquarian information — that the opinions of the Irish are conformable to the account we have given of the general creed of the Celtic nations respecting elves. namely). which gave the belief. chequered with those of Scandinavia from a source peculiar and more direct than that by which they reached Scotland or Ireland. Crofton Croker — which. If the Irish elves are anywise distinguished from those of Britain. which has been controverted. and is scarcely reconcilable to that which holds them amenable to pay a tax to hell. according to John Lewis. Merlin Wyllt. with King Arthur. But we return to the more simple fairy belief. This bag (in all respects the reverse of the Mab or Titania of the Celtic creed) was called Nicneven in that later system which blended the faith of the Celts and of the Goths on this subject. the dubious champion of Britain at that early period. from the ingenious researches of Mr. the son of an elf or fairy. We must not omit the creed of the Manxmen. who rode on the storm and marshalled the rambling host of wanderers under her grim banner. in all probability. just at the time when it was supposed that the magic of the wizard and the celebrated sword of the monarch. was a peculiar depository of the fairy traditions. that additional legends were obtained of a gigantic and malignant female. and to have vanished without having suffered death. The great Scottish poet Dunbar has made a spirited description of this Hecate riding at the head of witches and good neighbours (fairies. are such as are entertained in the Highlands and some remote quarters of the Lowlands of Scotland. is mentioned by both. who were the joint leaders of their choir. but it is singular to remark what light the traditions of Scotland throw upon the poetry of the Britons of Cumberland. as entertained by the Celts before they were conquered by the Saxons.

champions to conceal his having received a mortal wound in the fatal battle of Camlan; and to that we owe the wild and beautiful incident so finely versified by Bishop Percy, in which, in token of his renouncing in future the use of arms, the monarch sends his attendant, sole survivor of the field, to throw his sword Excalibar into the lake hard by. Twice eluding the request, the esquire at last complied, and threw the far-famed weapon into the lonely mere. A hand and arm arose from the water and caught Excalibar by the hilt, flourished it thrice, and then sank into the lake. * The astonished messenger returned to his master to tell him the marvels he had seen, but he only saw a boat at a distance push from the land, and heard shrieks of females in agony: — “And whether the king was there or not He never knew, he never colde For never since that doleful day Was British Arthur seen on molde.” The circumstances attending the disappearance of Merlin would probably be found as imaginative as those of Arthur's removal, but they cannot be recovered; and what is singular enough, circumstances which originally belonged to the history of this famous bard, said to be the son of the Demon himself, have been transferred to a later poet, and surely one of scarce inferior name, Thomas of Erceldoune. The legend was supposed to be only preserved among the inhabitants of his native valleys, but a copy as old as the reign of Henry VII, has been recovered. The story is interesting and beautifully told, and, as one of the oldest fairy legends, may well be quoted in this place. Thomas of Erceldoune, in Lauderdale, called the Rhymer, on account of his producing a poetical romance on the subject of Tristrem and Yseult, which is curious as the earliest specimen of English verse known to exist, flourished in the reign of Alexander III. of Scotland. Like other men of talent of the period, Thomas was suspected of magic. He was said also to have the gift of prophecy, which was accounted for in the following peculiar manner, referring entirely to the elfin superstition: — As True Thomas (we give him the epithet by anticipation) lay on Huntly Bank, a place on the descent of the Eildon Hills, which raise their triple crest above the celebrated Monastery of Melrose, he saw a lady so extremely beautiful that he imagined it must be the Virgin Mary herself. Her appointments, however, were rather those of an Amazon or goddess of the woods. Her steed was of the highest beauty and spirit, and at his mane hung thirty silver bells and nine, which made music to the wind as she paced along. Her saddle was of royal bone (ivory), laid over with orfeverie — i.e., goldsmith's work. Her stirrups, her dress, all corresponded with her extreme beauty and the magnificence of her array. The fair huntress had her bow in her hand, and her arrows at her belt. She led three greyhounds in a leash, and three raches, or hounds of scent, followed her closely. She rejected and disclaimed the homage which Thomas desired to pay to her; so that, passing from one extremity to the other, Thomas became as bold as he had at first been humble. The lady warns him that he must become her slave if he should prosecute his suit towards her in the manner he proposes. Before their interview terminates, the appearance of the beautiful lady is changed into that of the

most hideous hag in existence. One side is blighted and wasted, as if by palsy; one eye drops from her head; her colour, as clear as the virgin silver, is now of a dun leaden hue. A witch from the spital or almshouse would have been a goddess in comparison to the late beautiful huntress. Hideous as she was, Thomas's irregular desires had placed him under the control of this hag, and when she bade him take leave of sun, and of the leaf that grew on tree, he felt himself under the necessity of obeying her. A cavern received them, in which, following his frightful guide, he for three days travelled in darkness, sometimes hearing the booming of a distant ocean, sometimes walking through rivers of blood, which crossed their subterranean path. At length they emerged into daylight, in a most beautiful orchard. Thomas, almost fainting for want of food, stretches out his hand towards the goodly fruit which hangs around him, but is forbidden by his conductress, who informs him these are the fatal apples which were the cause of the fall of man. He perceives also that his guide had no sooner entered this mysterious ground, and breathed its magic air, than she was revived in beauty, equipage, and splendour, as fair, or fairer, than he had first seen her on the mountain. She then commands him to lay his head upon her knee, and proceeds to explain to him the character of the country. “Yonder righthand path,” she says, “conveys the spirits of the blessed to Paradise; yon downward and well-worn way leads sinful souls to the place of everlasting punishment; the third road, by yonder dark brake, conducts to the milder place of pain from which prayer and mass may release offenders. But see you yet a fourth road, sweeping along the plain to yonder splendid castle ? Yonder is the road to Elfland, to which we are now bound. The lord of the castle is king of the country, and I am his queen. But, Thomas, I would rather be drawn with wild horses, than he should know what hath passed between you and me. Therefore, when we enter yonder castle, observe strict silence, and answer no question that is asked at you, and I will account for your silence by saying I took your speech when I brought you from middle earth.” Having thus instructed her lover, they journeyed on to the castle, and entering by the kitchen, found themselves in the midst of such a festive scene as might become the mansion of a great feudal lord or prince. Thirty carcases of deer were lying on the massive kitchen board, under the hands of numerous cooks, who tolled to cut them up and dress them, while the gigantic greyhounds which had taken the spoil lay lapping the blood, and enjoying the sight of the slain game. They came next to the royal hall, where the king received his loving consort without censure or suspicion. Knights and ladies, dancing by threes (reels perhaps), occupied the floor of the hall, and Thomas, the fatigues of his journey from the Eildon hills forgotten, went forward and joined in the revelry. After a period, however, which seemed to him a very short one, the queen spoke with him apart, and bade him prepare to return to his own country. “Now,” said the queen, “how long think you that you have been here ? “Certes, fair lady,” answered Thomas, “not above these seven days.” “You are deceived,” answered the queen, “you have been seven years in this castle; and it is full time you were gone. Know, Thomas, that the fiend of hell will come to this castle to-morrow to demand his tribute, and so

handsome a man as you will attract his eye. For all the world would I not suffer you to be betrayed to such a fate; therefore up, and let us be going.” These terrible news reconciled Thomas to his departure from Elfin land, and the queen was not long in placing him upon Huntly bank, where the birds were singing. She took a tender leave of him, and to ensure his reputation, bestowed on him the tongue which could not lie . Thomas in vain objected to this inconvenient and involuntary adhesion to veracity, which would make him, as lie thought, unfit for church or for market, for kings court or for lady's bower. But all his remonstrances were disregarded by the lady, and Thomas the Rhymer, whenever the discourse turned on the future, gained the credit of a prophet whether he would or not; for be could say nothing but what was sure to come to pass. It is plain that had Thomas been a legislator instead or a poet, we have here the story of Numa and Egeria. Thomas remained several years in his own tower near Erceldoune, and enjoyed the fame of his predictions, several of which are current among the country people to this day. At length, as the prophet was entertaining the Earl of March in his dwelling, a cry of astonishment arose in the village, on the appearance of a hart and hind,* which left the forest and, contrary to their shy nature, came quietly onward, traversing the village towards the dwelling of Thomas. The prophet instantly rose from the board; and, acknowledging the prodigy as the summons of his fate, he accompanied the hart and hind into the forest, and though occasionally seen by individuals to whom he has chosen to show himself, has never again mixed familiarly with mankind. Thomas of Erceldoune, during his retirement, has been supposed, from time to time, to be levying forces to take the field in some crisis of his country's fate. The story has often been told of a daring horse-jockey having sold a black horse to a man of venerable and antique appearance, who appointed the remarkable hillock upon Eildon hills, called the Lucken-hare, as the place where, at twelve o'clock at night, he should receive the price. He came, his money was paid in ancient coin, and he was invited by his customer to view his residence. The trader in horses followed his guide in the deepest astonishment through several long ranges of stalls, in each of which a horse stood motionless, while an armed warrior lay equally still at the charger's feet. “All these men,” said the wizard in a whisper, “will awaken at the battle of Sheriffmoor.” At the extremity of this extraordinary depôt hung a sword and a born, which the prophet pointed out to the horse-dealer as containing the means of dissolving the spell. The man in confusion took the horn, and attempted to wind it. The horses instantly started in their stalls, stamped, and shook their bridles, the men arose and clashed their armour, and the mortal, terrified at the tumult he had excited, dropped the horn from his hand. A voice like that of a giant, louder even than the tumult around, pronounced these words: — “Woe to the coward that ever he was born, That did not draw the sword before he blew the horn !” A whirlwind expelled the horse-dealer from the cavern, the entrance to which he could

He told me that his dwelling was a mile off. and now. whom he began to cheapen. At which I began to be somewhat fearful. A moral might be perhaps extracted from the legend — namely. He conducted me out again through a large and long entry. seems to have given some weight to the belief of those who thought that the spirits of famous men do. It is not the less edifying. of which place I had never heard. as we are deprived of the more picturesque parts . did also give strange predictions respecting famine and plenty. towns. the last of his appearances was in the following manner: — “I had been. thirteen pence-halfpennies. yet a similar story appears to have been current during the reign of Queen Elizabeth.” &c. take up some particular habitations near cities. I upon my horse. where I saw above six hundred men in armour laid prostrate on the ground as if asleep. as I returned home by the I met this man. I told him of my horse. “to sell a horse at the next market own. I knew not how.” said he. after death. having specimens of the fairy coin. I answered as I thought fit. and was in his lifetime accounted as a prophet or predicter by the assistance of sublunary spirits. war and bloodshed. After much travel I asked him where he dwelt and what his name was. by the very mention of the Sheriffmoor. perceiving we were on a road which I never had been on before. So he turned back with me. and how affairs moved through the country. on we went till he brought me under ground. which is given by Reginald Scot. but not attaining my price. and countries. and he on another milk-white east. at a place called Farran . consisting of ninepennies. at least some ghostly being or other that calls itself by the name of such a person who was dead above a hundred years ago. Reginald Scot. which increased my fear and amazement more. * He also told me that he himself was that person of the family of Learmonths so much spoken of as a prophet. withal. But it is a circumstance worth notice. and proceeded with me so far that the price was agreed upon. who began to be familiar with me. and told me that if I would go along with him I should receive my money. “I could name a person who hath lately appeared thrice since his decease.” says he. of which at this instant I have several pieces to show. of a quality more permanent than usual had not favoured us with an account of an impress s valuable to medalists.never again find. that it is best to be armed against danger before bidding it defiance. But the money I had received was just double of what I esteemed it when the woman paid me. in the very place where I first met him. At last I found myself in the open field by the help of the moonlight. and act as tutelary and guardian spirits to the places which they loved while in the flesh. and made a shift to get home by three in the morning. asking what news. though I knew all the country round about. “But more particularly to illustrate this conjecture. Well. By the information of the person that had communication with him. at his appearance. which was one of the virtues professed by Caius when he hired himself to King Lear. The narrative is edifying as peculiarly illustrative of the mode of marring a curious tale in telling it. It is a great pity that this horse-dealer. On our way we went. and the end of the world. that although this edition of the tale is limited to the year 1715. into the presence of a beautiful woman. incredulous on the subject of witchcraft. who paid the money without a word speaking.

Tod. at the same time. as the oldest tradition of the kind which has reached us in detail. if we consider him as writing in the Anglo-Norman language. We hesitate to ascribe either to the Persians or the Arabians the distinguishing name of an ideal commonwealth. * See an abstract. to the god Sylvanus. to the east of Melrose. to learn that Thomas's payment was as faithful as his prophecies. It is the opinion of the learned that the Persian word Peri. though. I have dwelt at some length on the story of Thomas the Rhymer. 1814. dug up near the junction of the Leader and the Tweed. Still there is something uncertain in this etymology. like that of his own heroine Yseult. * See the essay on the Fairy Superstition. It must be owned. we cannot term it altogether laudable.of the story. in the neighbourhood of the village of Newstead. we may say has not as yet been very clearly established. if we suppose it to have reached Europe through the medium of the Arabians. was certainly one among the earliest of its versifiers. so that they pronounce the word Feri instead of Peri. therefore. “Northern Antiquities. The beautiful lady who bore the purse must have been undoubtedly the Fairy Queen. have reference to a class of spirits corresponding. whose affection. and the whole brought into its present form by the author. But the legend is still more curious. seems yet to have borne a faithful and firm character. the notion of which they certainly did not contribute to US. tempted to suppose that the elves may have obtained their most frequent name from their being par excellence a fair or comely people. * Another altar of elegant form and perfectly preserved. It was inscribed by Carrius Domitianus. and its date. and who. was. and as pretending to show the fate of the first Scottish poet. in the “Minstrelsy of the Scottish Border. the prefect of the twentieth legion. expressing an unearthly being. from its being the first and most distinguished instance of a man alleged to have obtained supernatural knowledge by means of the fairies. though these terms. just as.” “good neighbours. of “A Lay on this subject of King Laurin.” complied by Henry of Osterdingen.” . Whence or how this singular community derived their more common popular name. that the words fay and fairy may have been mere adoptions of the French fee and feerie. are established both by history and records. in whose alphabet the letter P does not exist.” of which many of the materials were contributed by Dr. * “Sadducismus Triumphatus.” and by other titles of the like import. in other instances. Some are. will afford the best derivation. they called the fays “men of peace. But this is a question which we willingly leave for the decision of better etymologists than ourselves. but with the far different Fata of the Italians. within these few weeks. of a species very similar. the seat of Mr. The altar is preserved of Drygrange.” Edinburgh. not to our fairies. on the other side of the Channel. whose existence. by the late learned Henry Weber. while the superstition of the Scottish was likely enough to give them a name which might propitiate the vanity for which they deemed the race remarkable. forming another instance how much the wild and silvan character of the country disposed the feelings of the Romans to acknowledge the presence of the rural deities. a quality which they affected on all occasions. Leyden.

. See Ellis's “Ancient Romances. nor would it. and the like. In popular tradition. chap. for the purpose of satisfying their own wishes. LETTER V. Those who practised the petty arts of deception in such mystic cases. “Discourse of Devils and Spirits appended to the Discovery of Witchcraft. or those of others. be considered as any criminal alliance. by means of the fairy people. nor is described by his son other than Le Rymour. claimed descent from the prophet. curiosity. 131. p. Thome Reid-Trial of Alison Pearson — Account of her Familiar. became the common apology of those who attempted to cure diseases. book ii.by Joseph Glanville. p. Those who dealt in fortune-telling. a race which might be described by negatives.” Vol. 1790. The Learmonths of Dairsie. the Minister of Aberfoyle's Work on Fairy Superstitions — He is himself taken to Fairyland — Dr.” by Reginald Scot. i. or revenge.” * This last circumstance seems imitated from a passage in the “Life of Merlin” by Jeffrey of Monmouth. TO return to Thomas the Rhymer. and of Hector Munro. A confession of direct communication and league with Satan. the name of Thomas the Rhymer was always averred to be Learmonth. mystical cures by charms. devils. being neither angels. though having at least as many opportunities of information. of his Intercourse with the Fairies — Trial and Confession of Isobel Gowdie — Use of Elf-arrow Heads — Parish of Aberfoyle — Mr. William Sympson-Trial of the Lady Fowlis. might. Grahame's interesting Work. that they held communion with a . being naturally desirous to screen their own impostures. they might flatter themselves. often claimed an intercourse with Fairyland Hudhart or Hudikin — Pitcairn's “Scottish Criminal Trials” — Story of Bessie Dunlop and her Adviser — Her Practice of Medicine — And of Discovery of Theft — Account of her Familiar. to tell fortunes. and other supernatural powers. or to engage in traffic with the invisible world. were willing to be supposed to derive from the fairies. in Fife. it would seem that the example which it afforded of obtaining the gift of prescience.” * See “Percy's Reliques of Ancient English Poetry. with an account of whose legend I concluded last letter. and his Information on Fairy Superstitions — Story of a Female in East Lothian carried off by the Fairies — Another instance from Pennant. 73. a Juggler. * In this the author is in the same ignorance as his namesake Reginald. 19. * See “Flyting of Dunbar and Kennedy. be avoided by the avowal of a less disgusting intercourse with sublunary spirits. Edinburgh. though he neither uses it himself. sec. her Stepson — Extraordinary species of Charm used by the latter-Confession of John Stewart. or from mortals transported to fairyland the power necessary to effect the displays of art which they pretended to exhibit. to revenge injuries. the poor wretches hoped. nor the souls of deceased men. 3. Esq. though the accused were too frequently compelled by torture to admit and avow such horrors. Kirke.

in short. conjuring her to abide and answer the questions of her master. Of these we shall afterwards say something. Some endeavoured to predict a man's fortune in marriage or his success in life by the aspect of the stars. who. for laudable. together with the like doom in the next. Accordingly. the credulous. Sometimes the soothsayers. and at once ensuring condemnation in this world. a looking-glass. of the existence of white magic. or moved by any of the numberless uses for which men seek to look into futurity.race not properly hostile to man. elixir. was the manner in which the persons accused of witchcraft most frequently endeavoured to excuse themselves. as healing diseases and the like. as it was called. on certain conditions. was murdered at Perth in 1411. combined with a strong desire to be useful to the distressed of both sexes. The details of the evidence. to be useful and friendly to him. to whom the Scots assigned rather more serious influence. by which they could reduce and compel an elementary spirit to enter within a stone. and willing. which consists chiefly of the unfortunate woman's own . knowledge. or some other local place of abode. Such an intercourse was certainly far short of the witch's renouncing her salvation. and interfered in the fate o nations. occurs in the early part of a work to which I have been exceedingly obliged in the present and other publications. and confine her there by the power of an especial charm. and other wizards. in search of health. were anxious obtain superhuman assistance. delivering herself personally to the devil. but the species of evasion now under our investigation is that of the fanatics or impostors who pretended to draw information from the equivocal spirits called fairies. alike anxious to establish the possibility of a harmless process of research into futurity. Being asked her source of knowledge. When James I. she answered Hudhart had told her. others pretended to possess spells. in opposition to that black art exclusively and directly derived from intercourse with Satan. soared to higher matters than the practice of physic. * or with the red-capped demon so powerful in the case of Lord Soulis. it might have bee disconcerted. as well as the numbers who had it in view to dupe such willing clients. might perhaps have forfeited his life before he established the reputation of his drop. and the number of instances before us is so great as induces us to believe that the pretence of communicating with Elfland. who pretended to act on this information from sublunary spirits. and the proprietor of a patent medicine who should in those days have attested his having. a Dutch spirit somewhat similar to Friar Rush or Robin Goodfellow. or at least to alleviate the charges brought against them of practising sorcery. or pill. But the Scottish law did not acquit those who accomplished even praiseworthy actions. which might either be the with Hudkin. wrought such miracles as we see sometimes advertised. and had she been listened to. became both cheated and cheaters. a Highland woman prophesied the course and purpose of the conspiracy. The most special account which I have found of the intercourse between Fairyland and a female professing to have some influence in that court. such as remarkable cures by mysterious remedies. or at least innocent objects. greatness. and not with the actual demon.

confession, are more full than usual, and comprehend some curious particulars. To spare technical repetitions, I must endeavour to select the principal facts in evidence in detail, so far as they bear upon the present subject. On the 8th November, 1576, Elizabeth or Bessie Dunlop, spouse to Andro Jak, in Lyne, in the Barony of Dalry, Ayrshire, was accused of sorcery and witchcraft and abuse of the people. Her answers to the interrogatories of the judges prosecutors ran thus: It being required of her by what art she could tell of lost goods or prophesy the event of illness, she replied that of herself she had no knowledge or science of such matters, but that when questions were asked at her concerning such matters, she was in the habit of applying to one Thome Reid, who died at the battle of Pinkie (10th September, 1547), as he himself affirmed, and who resolved her any questions which she asked at him. This person she described as a respectable elderly-looking man, grey-bearded, and wearing a grey coat, with Lombard sleeves of the auld fashion. A pair of grey breeches and white stockings gartered above the knee, a black bonnet on his head, close behind and plain before, with silken laces drawn through the lips thereof, and a white wand in his hand, completed the description of what we may suppose a respectable-looking man of the province and period. Being demanded concerning her first interview with this mysterious Thome Reid, she gave rather an affecting account of the disasters with which she was then afflicted, and a sense of which perhaps aided to conjure up the imaginary counsellor. She was walking between her own house and the yard of Monkcastle, driving her cows to the common pasture, and making heavy moan with herself, weeping bitterly for her cow that was dead, her husband and child that were sick of the land-ill (some contagious sickness of the time), while she herself was in a very infirm state, having lately borne a child. On this occasion she met Thome Reid for the first time, who saluted her courteously, which she returned: “Sancta Maria, Bessie !” said the apparition, “why must thou make such dole and weeping for any earthly thing?” “Have I not reason for great sorrow,” said she, “since our property is going to destruction, my husband is on the point of death, my baby will not live, and I am myself at a weak point ? Have I not cause to have a sore heart?” “Bessie,” answered the spirit, “thou hast displeased God in asking something that thou should not, and I counsel you to amend your fault. I tell thee, thy child shall die ere thou get home; thy two sheep shall also die; but thy husband shall recover and be as well and feir as ever he was.” The good woman was something comforted to hear that her husband was be spared in such her general calamity, but was rather alarmed to see her ghostly counsellor pass from her a disappear through a hole in the garden wall, seemingly too narrow to admit of any living person passing through it. Another time he met her at the Thorn of Dawmstarnik, and showed his ultimate purpose by offering her plenty of every thing if she would but deny Christendom and the faith she took at the font-stone. She answered, that rather than do that she would be torn at horses' heels, but that she would be conformable to his advice in less matters. He parted with her in some displeasure. Shortly afterwards he appeared in her own house about

noon, which was at the time occupied by her husband and three tailors. But neither Andrew Jak nor the three tailors were sensible of the presence of the phantom warrior who was slain at Pinkie; so that, without attracting their observation, he led out goodwife to the end of the house near the kiln. Here showed her a company of eight women and four men. The women were busked in their plaids, and very seemly. The strangers saluted her, and said, “Welcome, Bessie; wilt thou go with us ?” But Bessie was silent, as Thome Reid had previously recommended. After this she saw their lips move, but did not understand what they said; and in a short time they removed from thence with a hideous ugly howling sound, like that of a hurricane. Thome Reid then acquainted her that these were the good wights (fairies) dwelling in the court of Elfland, who came to invite her to go thither with them. Bessie answered that, before she went that road, it would require some consideration. Thome answered, “Seest thou not me both meat-worth, clothes-worth, and well enough in person?” and engaged she should be easier than ever she was. But she replied, she dwelt with her husband and children, and would not leave them; to which Thome Reid “replied, in very ill-humour, that if such were her sentiments, she would get little good of him. Although they thus disagreed on the principal object of Thome Reid's visits, Bessie Dunlop affirmed he continued to come to her frequently, and assist her with his counsel; and that if any one consulted her about the ailments of human beings or of cattle, or the recovery of things lost and stolen, she was, by the advice of Thome Reid, always able 16 answer the querists. She was also taught by her (literally ghostly) adviser how to watch the operation of the ointments he gave her, and to presage from them the recovery or death of the patient. She said Thome gave her herbs with his own hand, with which she cured John jack's bairn and Wilson's of the Townhead. She also was helpful to a waitingwoman of the young Lady Stanley, daughter of the Lady Johnstone, whose disease, according to the opinion of the infallible Thome Reid, was “a cauld blood that came about her heart,” and frequently caused her to swoon away. For this Thome mixed a remedy as generous as the balm of Gilead itself. It was composed of the most potent ale, cocted with spices and a little white sugar, to be drunk every morning before taking food. For these prescriptions Bessie 'Dunlop's fee was a peck of meal and some cheese. The young woman recovered. But the poor old Lady Kilbowie could get no help for her leg, which had been crooked for years; for Thome Reid said the marrow of the limb was perished and the blood benumbed, so that she would never recover, and if she sought further assistance, it would be the worse for her. These opinions indicate common sense and prudence at least, whether we consider them as originating with the umquhile Thome Reid, or with the culprit whom he patronized. The judgments given in the case of stolen goods were also well chosen; for though they seldom led to recovering the property, they generally alleged such satisfactory reasons for its not being found as effectually to cover the credit of the prophetess. Thus Hugh Scott' cloak could not be returned, because the thieves had gained time to make it into a kirtle. James Jarmieson. and James Baird would, by her advice, have recovered their plough-irons, which had

been stolen, had it not been the will of fate that William Dougal, sheriff's officer, one of the parties searching for them, should accept a bribe of three pounds not to find them. In short, although she lost a lace which Thome Reid gave her out of his own band, which, tied round women in childbirth, had the power of helping their delivery, Bessy Dunlop's profession of a wise woman seems to have flourished indifferently well till it drew the evil eye of the law upon her. More minutely pressed upon the subject of her familiar, she said she had never known him while among the living, but was aware that the person so calling himself was one who had, in his lifetime, actually been known in middle earth as Thome Reid, officer to the Laird of Blair, and who died at Pinkie. Of this she was made certain, because he sent her on errands to his son, who had succeeded in his office, and to others his relatives, whom be named, and commanded them to amend certain trespasses which he had done while alive, furnishing her with sure tokens by which they should know that it was he who had sent her. One of these errands was somewhat remarkable. She was to remind a neighbour of some particular which she was to recall to his memory by the token that Thome Reid and he had set out together to go to the battle which took place on the Black Saturday; that the person to whom the message was sent was inclined rather to move in a different direction, but that Thome Reid heartened him to pursue his journey, and brought him to the Kirk of Dalry, where he bought a parcel of figs, and made a present of them to his companion, tying them in his handkerchief; after which they kept company till they came to the field upon the fatal Black Saturday, as the battle of Pinkie was long called. Of Thome's other habits, she said that he always behaved with the strictest propriety, only that he pressed her to go to Elfland with him, and took hold of her apron as if to pull her along. Again, she said she had seen him in public places, both in the churchyard at Dalry and on the street of Edinburgh, where be walked about among other people, and handled goods that were exposed to sale, without attracting any notice. She herself did not then speak to him, for it was his command that, upon such occasions, she should never address him unless he spoke first to her. In his theological opinions, Mr. Reid appeared to lean to the Church of Rome, which, indeed, was most indulgent to the fairy folk. He said that the new law, i.e., the Reformation, was not good, and that the old faith should return again, but not exactly as it had been before. Being questioned why this visionary sage attached himself to her more than to others, the accused person replied, that when she was confined in childbirth of one of her boys, a stout woman came into her but, and sat down on a bench by her bed, like a mere earthly gossip; that she demanded a drink, and was accommodated accordingly; and thereafter told the invalid that the child should die, but that her husband, who was then ailing, should recover. This visit seems to have been previous to her meeting Thome Reid near Monkcastle garden, for that worthy explained to her that her stout visitant was Queen of Fairies, and that he had since attended her by the express command of that lady, his queen and mistress. This reminds us of the extreme doting attachment which the Queen of the Fairies is

drinking what at Christopher Sly would have called very sufficient smallbeer with a peasant's wife. that he remained there twelve years. tried for invocation of the spirits of the devil. 28th May. if he came for her soul's good to tell his errand.” sufficiently express the tragic conclusion of a curious tale. who carried him to Egypt along with him. she heard a tremendous sound of a body of riders rushing past her with such a noise as if heaven and earth would come together. whose father was king's smith in that town. her cousin and her mother's brother's son. She declared that she had renewed her acquaintance with her kinsman so soon as he returned. a heavy burden for a clumsy bench. Neither did it avail her that the petty sorcery which she practised was directed to venial or even beneficial purposes. who she affirmed was a great scholar and doctor of medicine. Alison Pearson had also a familiar in the court of Elfland. In reply she charged him. She further confessed that one day as she passed through Grange Muir she lay down in a fit of sickness. William had been taken away. mirth. the following description of the fairy host may come more near the idea he has formed of that invisible company: — Bessie Dunlop declared that as she went to tether her nag by the side of Restalrig Loch (Lochend. dealing with charms and abusing the ignorant people. and said she would repent it. 1588. where . summoned thrice. and that his father died in the meantime for opening a priest's book and looking upon it. it would seem. born in Stirling.” Thome Reid attended her. also that she accompanied them into Lothian. The sad words on the margin of the record. by a man of Egypt (a Gipsy). The intervention of Thome Reid as a partner in her trade of petty sorcery did not avail poor Bessie Dunlop. but Thome Reid showed her that the noise was occasioned by the wights. and appeared to her very often within four years. and against her will she was obliged to pass with them farther than she could tell. specially in the vision of one Mr. Against this poor woman her own confession. who were performing one of their cavalcades upon earth. On this the green man departed. As Bessie Dunlop had Thome Reid. was the principal evidence. William Sympson aforesaid. Alison Pearson. All this while she saw nothing. near the eastern port of Edinburgh).represented to have taken for Dapper in “The Alchemist. she said. and good cheer. If the delicacy of the reader's imagination be a little hurt at imagining the elegant Titania in the disguise of a stout woman. This was her relative. “Convict and burnt. in the name of God and by the law he lived upon. and that a green man came to her. although his affection to her was apparently entirely platonic — the greatest familiarity on which he ventured was taking hold of her gown as he pressed her to go with him to Elfland. as in the case of Bessie Dunlop. he shook his head. He often requested her to go with him on his return to Fairyland. that the sound swept past her and seemed to rush into the lake with a hideous rumbling noise. William Sympson. on being. and when she refused. and said if she would be faithful he might do her good. with piping. was. But he afterwards appeared to her with many men and women with him. in Byrehill.

by which they hoped to bewitch Robert Munro and Lady Balnagowan. with which he was charged. had a stepmother's quarrel with Robert Munro. created by James VI. which she gratified by forming a scheme for compassing his death by unlawful arts. The following extraordinary detail involves persons of far higher quality. She assembled persons of the lowest order. The margin of the court-book again bears the melancholy and brief record. the present Lady Balnagowan. According to the belief of the time. There is a very severe libel on him for this and other things unbecoming his order. notwithstanding that she was sometimes in disgrace there. and for this. whether enthusiasts or impostors. besides making pictures or models in clay. Sometimes. Lady Fowlis. she said. stamped with an infamous celebrity as witches. At other times they spoke her fair. Lady Fowlis. She also confessed that she had seen before sunrise the good neighbours make their salves with pans and fires. Another earthen jar (Scotticè pig ) of the same deleterious liquor was prepared by the . should marry with her brother. they came in such fearful forms as frightened her very much. and had not seen tile queen for seven years. by birth Katherine Ross of Balnagowan. swallowed the prescriptions of this poor hypochondriac with good faith and will. this Alison Pearson transferred the bishop's indisposition from himself to a white palfrey. Purpose. and that her cousin Sympson confessed that every year the tithe of them were taken away to hell. Andrews. She also boasted of her favour with the Queen of Elfland and the good friends she hadat that court. and who sought to familiars for more baneful purposes. She declared that when she told of these things she was sorely tormented. upon one occasion. eating a stewed fowl. She said William Sympson is with tile fairies.* This poor woman's kinsman. Archbishop of St. eldest son of her husband. and from which we learn that Lethington and Buccleuch were seen by Dame Pearson in the Fairy-land. The celebrated Patrick Adamson. poison so strong that a page tasting of it immediately took sickness. Katherine Munro. that the widow of Robert.she saw puncheons of wine with tasses or drinking-cups. of high rank. but if she told of them and their doings. and how to apply them. they practised their supposed art exclusively for the advantage of mankind. which died in consequence. and drinking out at two draughts a quart of claret.” The two poor women last mentioned are the more to be pitied as. if the indictment had a syllable of truth. carried on her practices with the least possible disguise. her sister-in-law. was also to be removed. who was the fifteenth Baron of Fowlis. and. both by her own family and that of her husband. She declared that when a whirlwind blew the fairies were commonly there. and received a blow that took away the power of her left side. and promised her that she should never want if faithful. Her proposed advantage in this was. an excellent divine and accomplished scholar. “Convicta et combusta. and that he lets her know when they are coming. and that he taught her what remedies to use. medicated with the drugs she recommended. Sympson. they brewed. did not give better shelter to her than Thome Reid had done to her predecessor. and chief of the warlike clan of Munro. and left on it an ugly mark which had no feeling. when he was thus removed. George Ross of Balnagowan. they threatened to martyr her.

unique manner. but the nurse. a necessary part of the spell. impressive. After midnight the sorceress Marion MacIngarach. Her son-in-law. Hector. went forth with her accomplices. the points of flint used for arming the ends of arrow-shafts in the most ancient times. The answer was unanimous that he must die unless the principal man of his blood should suffer death in his stead. shot two shafts at the image of Lady Balnagowan. produced two of what the common people call elf-arrow heads. refusing to receive any of his other friends till he saw the substitute whom he destined to take his place in the grave. by advice of a notorious witch. was borne forth in a pair of blankets. was. presently died. received him with peculiar coldness and restraint. which seemed singular when compared with the anxiety he had displayed to see his brother. brother to him by the half-blood (the son of the Katherine Lady Fowlis before commemorated). I believe. broke the jar. “How he did?” Hector replied. and Lady Fowlis commanded new figures to be modelled. one of his stepmother's prosecutors. The pictures of the intended victims were then set up at the north end of the apartment. being taken ill. by which shots they were broken. should be suspended for a time. Lady Fowlis made use of the artillery of Elfland in order to destroy her stepson and sister-in-law. the destined victim. and unusual nature. one of the assistant hags. The messenger having stumbled in the dark. He did not speak for the space of an hour. an assistant hag. carrying spades with them. Hector. but accounted by the superstitious the weapons by which the fairies were wont to destroy both man and beast. and of his own fostermother. called Marion MacIngarach. It was agreed that the vicarious substitute for Hector must mean George Munro. The grave was made as nearly as possible to the size of their patient Hector Munro. in fact. and sent with her own nurse for the purpose of administering it to Robert Munro. for reasons of his own. “That he was the better George had come to visit him. and three against the picture of Robert Munro. and. After ascertaining that the operation of the charm on George Munro. The time being January. Laskie Loncart. When George at length arrived. and Christian Ross Malcolmson. to avoid suspicion.” and relapsed into silence. and a rank grass grew on the spot where it fell. Christian Neil Dalyell. Hector Munro. Hector sent at least seven messengers for this young man. the earth dug out of the grave being laid aside for the time. active in a similar conspiracy against the life of his own brother. till his brother broke silence and asked. having less sense than the brute beasts. They then proceeded to dig a grave not far from the seaside. it seems. but it was.Lady Fowlis. upon a piece of land which formed the boundary betwixt two proprietors. to whom this family appears to have been partial. consulted on his case some of the witches or soothsayers. and tasting of the liquor which had been spilled. Many similar acts of witchcraft and of preparing poisons were alleged against Lady Fowlis. who were warned to be strictly . barbarous. The rites that he practised were of an uncouth. What is more to our present purpose. Hector Munro. which sheep and cattle abhorred to touch. the chief priestess or Nicneven of the company. being. the patient. the conspirators proceeded to work their spell in a singular. 1588. accompanied with all who were entrusted with the secret.

he said. the King of the Fairies struck him with a white rod. while Christian Neil Dalyell. and remained with them all the night. creep into the heads of Hector Munro's assize that the enchantment being performed in January. ran the breadth of about nine ridges distant. who replied that she chose Hector to live and George to die in his stead. He made the usual declaration. to present her to trial when charged at Aberdeen to produce her. It being demanded of him by what means he professed himself to have knowledge of things to come. all remaining mute as before. the earth being filled in on him. in Galway. they pricked the spot with a large pin.* Another instance of the skill of a sorcerer being traced to the instructions of the elves is found in the confession of John Stewart. he being travelling on All-Hallow Even night. Mr. It might also. and after the intervention of twelve months George Munro. He declared that the use of speech and eyesight was restored to him by the King of Fairies and his company. or Dein. also. whereof he expressed no sense or feeling.silent till the chief sorceress should have received her information from the angel whom they served. on an Hallowe'en night. that they met every Hallow-tide. The consequence of a process which seems ill-adapted to produce the former effect was that Hector Munro recovered. Hector Munro was carried to his grave and laid therein. to sink or cast away a vessel belonging to her own good brother. and the grave secured with stakes as at a real funeral. sometimes on Kilmaurs Hill. has all the appearance of having been packed on purpose for acquittal. in Ireland. his brother. coming again to the grave where Hector Munro was interred alive. and that he was then taught by them. Marion MacIngarach. the said John confessed that the space of twenty-six years ago. that he . and. and the deceased being only taken ill of his fatal disease in April 1590. made her keeper of his sheep. Though one or two inferior persons suffered death on account of the sorceries practised in the house of Fowlis. being blindfolded. but professing skill in palmistry and jugglery. Hector took the principal witch into high favour. he met with the King of the Fairies and his company. at the town of Dublin. the Hecate of the night. demanded of the witch which victim she would choose. and that the King of the Fairies gave him a stroke with a white rod over the forehead. the distance between the events might seem too great to admit the former being regarded as the cause of the latter. 1588. and accused of having assisted Margaret Barclay. being composed of subordinate persons not suitable to the rank or family of the person tried. Pitcairn remarks that the juries. the Lady Katharine and her stepson Hector had both the unusual good fortune to be found not guilty. and that since that time he had joined these people every Saturday at seven o'clock. it is said. between the towns of Monygoif (so spelled) and Clary. in some interval of good sense. called a vagabond. Hector was removed from his chilling bed in a January grave and carried home. then sat down by the grave. whereupon the prisoner. perhaps). which he wanted for the space of three years. leading a boy in her hand. This form of incantation was thrice repeated ere Mr. the foster-mother. and evaded. sometimes on Lanark Hill (Tintock. He pointed out the spot of his forehead on which. died. which took from him the power of speech and the use of one eye.

in the Dounie Hills. the death for which she was most sorry being that of William Brown. “Horse and Hatch. A shaft was also aimed at the Reverend Harrie Forbes. The elves and the arch-fiend laboured jointly at this task. What is above narrated marks the manner in which the . 1662. On another occasion this frank penitent confesses her presence at a rendezvous of witches. as the arch-fiend. but her master forbade her. The witches bestrode either corn-straws. At the entrance ramped and roared the large fairy bulls. Then came the sport of the meeting. had the immediate agency in the abominations which she narrates. and calling. in the Devil's name !” which is the elfin signal for mounting. The penitent prisoner gives the names of many whom she and her sisters had so slain. the Court of Fairy. as usual. implicates. that the queen is bravely clothed in white linen and in white and brown cloth. as it is called. of date April. which always alarmed Isobel Gowdie. Lammas. drinking. that the King of Fairy is a brave man. saying the reverend gentleman's life was not subject to their power. and there were elf-bulls roaring and skoilling at the entrance of their palace. whose names he rehearsed particularly. At Auldearne. If the little whirlwind which accompanies their transportation passed any mortal who neglected to bless himself. they at length came to the dounie Hills. These animals are probably the water-bulls. they flew wherever they listed. in the Milntown of Mains. where. and the like — eating. all such fell under the witches' power. dighting) it. and not the elves. the epidemic terror of witches seems to have gone very far. The confession of a woman called Isobel Gowdie. as bright as day. and they acquired the right of shooting at him. and got meat there from the Queen of Fairies more than she could eat. she said. She added. the former forming and sharpening the dart from the rough flint. These need be the less insisted upon in this place. 1659. which frightened her much. The arrow fell short. after they had rambled through the country in different shapes — of cats. and declared that all such persons as are taken away by sudden death go with the King of Elfland. a minister who was present at the examination of Isobel. To this strange and very particular confession we shall have occasion to recur when witchcraft is the more immediate subject. where the mountain opened to receive them. In their caverns the fairies manufactured those elf-arrow heads with which the witches and they wrought so much evil. and wasting the goods of their neighbours into whose houses they could penetrate. With this man's evidence we have at present no more to do. and they entered a fair big room. which are not supposed to be themselves altogether canny or safe to have concern with. a parish and burgh of barony in the county of Nairne. though we may revert to the execrable proceedings which then took place against this miserable juggler and the poor women who were accused of the same crime. and the witch would have taken aim again. famous both in Scottish and Irish tradition. Yet she had been. bean-stalks. and the latter perfecting and finishing (or. the confessing party. At present it is quoted as another instance of a fortune-teller referring to Elfland as the source of his knowledge. or rushes.had seen many persons at the Court of Fairy. hares. and blends the operations of witchcraft with the facilities afforded by the fairies.

in the vicinity of the manse or parsonage. but they have no Bibles or works of devotion. “with undoubting mind. so jealous and irritable a race as to be incensed against those who spoke of them under their proper names. for the purpose of giving them to the public. the author. He was. It was by no means to be supposed that the elves. have a savour odious to these “fascinating creatures. corresponding with mortals existing on earth. very easily come by. others on Rosycrucian subjects. be rubbed with a certain balsam.belief in that crime was blended with the fairy superstition. minister of the Gospel. what is more material. To proceed to more modern instances of persons supposed to have fallen under the power of the fairy race. we must not forget the Reverend Robert Kirke. before be is permitted to suck. of a kind betwixt humanity and angels — says. and that individual apparitions. is to be seen at the east end of the churchyard at Aberfoyle.” They have. and of carrying away. and burials. and of an abstruse mystical character. yet those acquainted with his real history do not believe that he enjoys the natural repose of the tomb. are not even yet quite abandoned by the fairies. should be less than mortally offended at the temerity of the reverend author. and felt the fatal lacerations which he could not see. the learned divine's monument. the Rev. who had pryed so deeply into their mysteries. with his name duly inscribed. who have resolutely maintained secure footing in a region so well suited for their residence. as Mr. deaths. The remedy is easy in both cases. and dim copsewoods. Mr. like mortals in appearance. the first translator of the Psalms into Gaelic verse. in some respect. found materials for collecting and compiling his Essay on the “Subterranean and for the most part Invisible People heretofore going under the name of Elves. Fawnes. he has himself observed in beasts.” describes the fairy race as a sort of astral spirits. has informed us of the general belief that. are found among them. says the reverend author. and new-born children from their nurses. and within the Highland line. in the end of the seventeenth century. nurses. or the like. and Fairies. successively minister of the Highland parishes of Balquidder and Aberfoyle. Mr. Kirke was walking one evening in his night-gown upon a Dun-shi. that they have children. These beautiful and wild regions. so much was this the case formerly. many light toyish books (novels and plays. Grahame. lying in the most romantic district of Perthshire. Dr. they represent mortal men. The milk cannot be stolen if the mouth of the calf. while in his latter charge of Aberfoyle. marriages. The essayist fails not to mention the elf-arrow heads. sequestered valleys. what one would not expect. Kirke accuses them of stealing the milk from the cows. These wounds. or fairy mount. he says. and the woman in travail is safe if a piece of cold iron is put into the bed. Although. Kirke. comprehending so many lakes. therefore. Kirke accounts for this by informing us that the great northern mines of iron. which have something of the subtlety of thunderbolts.”* In this discourse. behold! he sunk down in what seemed to be a fit of apoplexy. that. Indeed. lying adjacent to the place of eternal punishment. doubtless). or double-men. that Mr. rocks. which the unenlightened . His successor. and can mortally wound the vital parts without breaking the skin. the women in pregnancy.

and commanded him to go to Grahame of Duchray. rather than use the fated colour commonly employed on such occasions. as the day of the Crucifixion. James Grahame.” would not break through this ancient prejudice of his clan. shall be brought to baptism.”* by the Rev. when. insomuch that we have beard that in battle a Grahame is generally shot through the green check of his plaid. who is my cousin as well as your own. protracted to an unusual duration. as the Ocean to poor Falconer. I remember. When the posthumous child. called “Sketches of Perthshire. Grahame of Aberfoyle. Robert Kirke appeared to a relation. moreover. from affording us some curious information on fairy superstition. Kirke was visibly seen while they were seated at table. I will appear in the room. in his astonishment. also. that a veteran sportsman of the name. and the apparition of Mr. “Say to Duchray. and mentions their displeasure at any one who assumes their accustomed livery of green. was so unfortunate as to die during the birth of a fourth child. To return from the Perthshire fairies. if Duchray shall throw over my head the knife or dirk which lie holds in his hand. he thought it sufficient to account for it. after bearing two or three children. author of “The Sabbath. was married to a beautiful woman. ancestor of the present General Graham Stirling. which took place in her childhood. who perished at sea after having written his popular poem of “The Shipwreck” — “Thou hast proclaimed our power — be thou our prey!” Upon this subject the reader may consult a very entertaining little volume. I may be restored to society. but a captive in Fairyland. when the place and its vicinity were alarmed by the following story: — An industrious man. After the ceremony of a seeming funeral. for the benefit of her friends and the poor. failed to perform the ceremony enjoined. of which my wife has been delivered since my disappearance. that my late amiable friend. but Grahame of Duchray. and it is to be feared that Mr. The terrible visitation of fairy vengeance which has lighted upon Mr. might happen before the middle of last century. that he had a piece of green whipcord to complete the lash of his hunting-whip. who. the form of the Rev. and as .” Duchray was apprised of what was to be done. Dr.” the Elfin state declaring to him. when. He tells us that these capricious elves are chiefly dangerous on a Friday. She was residing with some relations near the small seaport town of North Berwick. a colour fatal to several families in Scotland. having come by a bad fall. I am lost for ever. The ceremony took place. while the more understanding knew it to be a swoon produced by the supernatural influence of the people whose precincts he had violated. The life of the excellent person who told it was. a weaver in the little town. that I am not dead. but the mother had expired in convulsions. but if this opportunity is neglected. Kirke has not intimidated his successor. Kirke still “drees his weird in Fairyland. an excellent man and good antiquary. evil spirits have most power. I may quote a story of a nature somewhat similar to that of Mas Robert Kirke.took for death. but had his library table covered with blue or black cloth. and only one chance remains for my liberation. so I conceive that this adventure. The infant was saved. to the whole race of the gallant Grahames in particular.

the figure of a female dressed in white. the clergyman. This reverend person. began to think on the prudence of forming a new marriage. it is likely that this proposed decisive alteration of his condition brought back many reflections concerning the period of their union. and such a one. ashamed and puzzled. besides being an excellent divine in . to attend to her instructions. He conjured her to speak. she told him that if all the love which he once had for her was not entirely gone. and gave it suck. or winning her back. and without the assistance of a housewife. so that the whole forced upon him the following lively dream: — As he lay in his bed. which. upbraided him with want of love and affection. and this ghastly corpse substituted in the place of the body. as it was usually termed. upon which. with the clergyman at their head. to a poor artisan with so young a family.” said the apparition. She charged him on a certain day of the ensuing week that he should convene the most respectable housekeepers in the town. Kirke. and conjured him. was almost a matter of necessity. The next morning the terrified widower carried a statement of his perplexity to Mr. again recover my station in human society. and appeared to him the very likeness of his late wife. be “saw in his dream” that she took up the nursling at whose birth she had died. He readily found a neighbour with whose good looks he was satisfied.” In the morning the poor widower was distressed with the recollection of his dream. and you must have the fleetest runner of the parish (naming a man famed for swiftness) to pursue me. and carried the names of the parties to the clergyman (called. “I will start from the coffin and fly with great speed round the church. Matthew Reid) for the due proclamation of banns. but the unwilling captive of the Good Neighbours. she spilled also a drop or two of her milk on the poor man's bed-clothes. an opportunity still remained of recovering her. from some neglect of those who ought to have watched the sick woman. which. the visitation was again repeated. it became an opinion among her gossips that. awake as he thought. as if to assure him of the reality of the vision. As the man had really loved his late partner. In order to convince him there was no delusion. took no measures in consequence. by the prayers of the church. stood by the side of his bed. but. whilst her character for temper seemed to warrant her good usage of his children. he beheld. and with astonishment heard her say. that she was not dead. and. Like Mr. “The clergyman is to recite certain prayers. and with these recalled the extraordinary rumours which were afloat at the time of her decease. who entered his hut. from the comfortless realms of Elfland. she must have been carried off by the elves. at the ghostly hour of midnight. Matthew Reid. if he now neglected. and the efforts of my loving husband and neighbours. the smith. she would never have power to visit earth or communicate with him again. A second night. renowned for his strength. for the last time. to hold me fast after I am overtaken. and should disinter the coffin in which she was supposed to have been buried. The widower paid little attention to these rumours. He proposed himself and was accepted. like the minister of Aberfoyle. I believe. too.she was much disfigured after death. as is not very surprising. On the third night she appeared with a sorrowful and displeased countenance. after bitterly lamenting his wife for a year of mourning. and in that case I shall. Mr.

that he then found his hair was all tied in double knots (well known by the name of elf-locks). Being perhaps the latest news from the invisible commonwealth. and with a hollow sound. the almost extinct belief of the old idle tales began to gain ground. or to-day. He did not attempt to combat the reality of the vision which had thrown his parishioner into this tribulation. but she told him she was at that time in too much haste to attend to him. and conveyed over a wall into an adjacent corn-field.” The advice was taken. whom he soon saw floating through the air towards him. if you can. “A poor visionary who had been working in his cabbage-garden (in Breadalbane) imagined that he was raised suddenly up into the air. and mingling together like bees going to hive. that they spoke an unknown language. but he contended it could be only an illusion of the devil. He explained to the widower that no created being could have the right or power to imprison or detain the soul of a Christian — conjured him not to believe that his wife was otherwise disposed of than according to God's pleasure — assured him that Protestant doctrine utterly denies the existence of any middle state in the world to come — and explained to him that he. seizing him by the shoulder.other respects.” said the clergyman. but on his uttering the name of God all vanished. and the good minister will have many a weary discourse and exhortation before he can eradicate the . confounded and perplexed by various feelings. but a female sprite. neither could nor dared authorize opening graves or using the intervention of prayer to sanction rites of a suspicious character. were in the utmost anxiety at finding them in such bad company in the other world. we give the tourist's own words. many of whom he knew to have been dead for some years. or Men of Peace. The poor man. it will be only as of one from whom death has separated you. that be spoke to her. that he kept his word with the spectre. of communication with the Restless People — (a more proper epithet than that of Daoine Shi . of sagacity. and that be had almost lost his speech. but as a saint in Heaven. But it is incredible the mischief these agri somnia did in the neighbourhood. and. whom the old dreamer had named. perhaps the latest which has been made public. and the perplexed widower had no more visitations from his former spouse. or proclaim them three times in one day. that they very roughly pushed him to and fro. and so the affair rested when I left the country. The friends and neighbours of the deceased. asked his pastor what he should do. obliged him to promise an assignation at that very hour that day seven-night. An instance. as they are called in Gaelic) — came under Pennant's notice so late as during that observant traveller's tour in 1769. and for whom you may have thoughts of affection and sorrow. as a clergyman of the Church of Scotland. but bid him go away and no harm should befall him. was at the same time a man. that he found himself surrounded by a crowd of men and women. “Get your new bride's consent to be married to-morrow. I will take it on me to dispense with the rest of the banns. if you think of the former. who. and who appeared to him skimming over the tops of the unbending corn. and not as a prisoner in Elfland. “I will give you my best advice. You will have a new wife. who understood the human passions.

* See “Scottish Poems. and now.) in Scotland. was much the older of the two.” vol. in its general sense of worshipping the Dii Campestres. Remigius. from “The Criminal Records of Scotland. Esq.” vol. or Highlanders. formerly of middle earth. and the poet. the philosopher. * Pitcairn's “Trials. who will do nobody hurt. Dalzell. except he receive injury. as they second sight.” It-was printed with the author's name in 1691. &c.”* It is scarcely necessary to add that this comparatively recent tale is just the counterpart of the story of Bessie Dunlop. and now. collected and compared. There go as many tales upon this Hudkin in some parts of Germany as there did in England on Robin Goodfellow. who attached themselves to the child of humanity. Edinburgh. * Pennant's “Tour in Scotland. to occasion farther enquiry. nor yet be mocked. Alison Pearson. — Their mutual Abuse of each other — . but he cannot abide that. sometimes visibly. * Edinburgh. The curious collection of trials. 21. 1815. i.” now in the course of publication. affords so singular a picture of the manners and habits of our ancestors. 321. chap. as Wierus. Naudæus. p.” by Reginald Scot. — “Discourse concerning Devils. Immediate Effect of Christianity on Articles of Popular Superstition — Chaucer's Account of the Roman Catholic Priests banishing the Fairies — Bishop Corbett imputes the same Effect to the Reformation — His Verses on that Subject — His Iter Septentrionale — Robin Goodfellow and other Superstitions mentioned by Reginald Scot — Character of the English Fairies — The Tradition had become obsolete in that Author's Time — That of Witches remained in vigour — But impugned by various Authors after the Reformation. all of whom found in Elfland some friend. These instances may tend to show how the fairy superstition. Scot. and reprinted. and of the Irish butler who was so nearly carried off. while yet a semibarbarous people. which. i. * The title continues-"Among the Low Country Scots. * Hudkin is a very familiar devil. by a circumspect enquirer residing among the Scottish-Irish (i. 191201. book i.e . He talketh with men friendly.absurd ideas this idle story has revived. p.” annexed to “The Discovery of Witchcraft. and who endeavoured to protect a fellowmortal against their less philanthropic companions. which afforded pretext for such cruel practical consequences. by Robert Pitcairn. sometimes invisibly. pp. 1812. that it is equally worth the attention of the historian. In the next chapter I propose to trace how the general disbelief in the fairy creed began to take place. the antiquary. the Gael. to occasion are described by those who have the second sight. for Longman & Co... 110 LETTER VI. came to bear upon and have connexion with that horrid belief in witchcraft which cost so many innocent persons and crazy impostors their lives for the supposed commission of impossible crimes. and others — Demonology defended by Bodinus.” edited by John G. and gradually brought into discredit the supposed feats of witchcraft.

but a more modern poet. The fairies of whom the bard of Woodstock talks are. the compliment of having. As thick as motes in the sunne-beam. in proportion as its light became more pure and refined from the devices of men. Danced full oft in many a grene mead. at an early period. Women may now go safely up and doun In every bush. chambers. This was the old opinion. Cities and burghes. There is no other incubus than he. For there as wont to walken was an elf. as I rede I speake of many hundred years ago. with her joly company. Individual instances of scepticism there might exist among scholars. in some of his other tales. be informed that the . who must.Imperfection of Physical Science at this Period. sheep-pens and dairies. and has represented their expulsion as a consequence of the change of religion. And saith his mattins. The Elf queen. we are tempted to suspect some mixture of irony in the compliment which ascribes the exile of the fairies. Thropes and barnes. All was this land fulfilled of faerie. and boures. it will be observed. there can be no doubt that its immediate operation went to modify the erroneous and extravagant articles of credulity which lingered behind the old pagan faith. the ancient Celtic breed. As he goeth in his limitation. That searchen every land and every stream. Of which that Bretons speken great honour. or Armorica. But now can no man see no elves mo.* and other holy freres. The poet Chaucer. Blessing halls.” When we see the opinion which Chaucer has expressed of the regular clergy of his time. The verses are curious as well as picturesque. kitchenes. with which the land was “fulfilled” in King Arthur's time. pays the Church of Rome. and his holy things. For now the great charity and prayers Of limitours. castles high and towers. and under every tree. expelled from the land all spirits of an inferior and less holy character. and the Predominance of Mysticism in that Department. And he ne will don them no dishonour. till the reign of Queen Elizabeth. at the same time. that is. Two or three verses of this lively satire may be very well worth the reader's notice. and he seems to refer for the authorities of his tale to Bretagne. genuine Celtic colony: — “In old time of the King Artour. has with greater probability delayed the final banishment of the fairies from England. with a vein of humour not unworthy of Geoffrey himself. indeed. and which gave way before it. This maketh that there ben no fairies. and may go some length to establish the existence of doubts concerning the general belief in fairies among the well-instructed in the time of Edward III. ALTHOUGH the influence of the Christian religion was not introduced to the nations of Europe with such radiance as to dispel at once those clouds of superstition which continued to obscure the understanding of hasty and ill-instructed converts. In under nichtes and in morwenings. There walketh now the limitour himself. to the warmth and zeal of the devotion of the limitary friars. with its monks and preaching friars. from popular faith.

In strokes will prove the better conjuror. or some sprite that walks about. And merrily went their toes. And though they sweep their hearths no less Than maids were wont to do. entitled the Fairies' Farewell. tili he could say. still of little faith. The travellers lose themselves in the mazes of Chorley Forest on their way to Bosworth. whence the concluding verse — “To William all give audience. Or Cis to milking rose. to the tune of the Meadow Brow by the learned.' — 'Strike that dare. The poem is named “A proper new Ballad. But since of late Elizabeth. an inexhaustible record of their pranks and feats. Dr. friend. and this your way. the fairies Were of the old profession. merrily went their tabor. or domestic seems uncertain. — 'Turn your cloaks. lament. and two desired to be. 'Tis Robin. Their songs were Ave Maries. At morning and at evening both. yonder Bosworth stands.' But ere this witchcraft was performed. When Tom came home from labour. and kept.' Thought I. 'for Puck is busy in these oaks. which yet remain. much it would seem to the amusement of the witty bishop. was nothing less than the Bishop of Oxford and Norwich in the beginning of the seventeenth century.' But 'twas a gentle keeper. and their route becomes so confused that they return on their steps and labour — As in a conjuror's circle — William found A mean for our deliverance. alas ! they all are dead. Their dances were procession. Who live as changelings ever since For love of your domains. 'Strike him. Witness those rings and roundelays Of theirs. They did but change priests' babies. in Queen Mary's days. old abbies. If ever you at Bosworth would be found.” The remaining part of the poem is dedicated to the praise d glory of old William Chourne of Staffordshire. Good housewives now may say. we meet A very man who had no cloven feet. one that knew Humanity and manners.' Quoth he.” but whether William was guide. And later James came in. Then merrily. Or gone beyond the seas Or farther for religion fled. And rode along so far. for this is fairy ground. But some have changed your land And all your children sprung from hence Are now grown Puritans. doctors.”* This William Chourne appears to have attended Dr. by the unlearned to the tune of Fortune:” — Farewell. Or else they take their ease. Corbett's party on the iter septentrionale. where they grew. But now. On many a graspy plain. So little care of sleep and sloth Those pretty ladies had. 'and it will turn to air — Cross yourselves thrice and strike it. who remained a true and stanch evidence in behalf of the departed elves. “two of which were. Then turn your cloaks. Were footed.' quoth he. They never danced on any heath As when the time hath bin. Corbett. For now foul slats in dairies Do fare as well as they. For all the fairies' evidence Were lost if that were addle.”' * . You merry were and glad. 'See. The fairies' lost command. has doubt.author. Though William. Yet who of late for cleanliness Finds sixpence in her shoe? Lament. to be sung or whistle. 'for sure this massy forester. rewards and fairies. And pray ye for his noddle. “By which we note.

the puckle. Tom Tumbler. satyrs. urchins. who are introduced into the romance of Richard sans Peur. Tom Thumb. the spoorn. Boh ! and they have so frayd us with bull-beggars. could not be serious in averring that the fairy superstitions were obsolete in his day. witches. ought not to be resorted to unless under an absolute conviction that the exorcist is the stronger party.”* It would require a better demonologist than I am to explain the various obsolete superstitions which Reginald Scot has introduced as articles of the old English faith. hags. changelings. “some one knave in a white sheet hath cozened and abused many thousands. and doubtless the rest of these illusions will in a short time. Boneless. a skin like a negro. into the preceding passage. But . and a tail at his breech . as knowledge and religion became more widely and brightly displayed over any country. giants. fairies. eyes like a basin. therefore. Corbett prudently thinks. and such other bugbears. fire in his mouth. the fire-drake. this wretched and cowardly infidelity. be detected and vanish away. that we are afraid of our own shadows. where a right hardy man heretofore durst not to have passed by night but his hair would stand upright. whereby we start and are afraid when we hear one cry. who declaimed against the “splendid miracles” of the Church of Rome. imps. and in the time of Queen Elizabeth the unceasing labour of many and popular preachers. by God's grace. from which the word Pook or Puckle was doubtless derived. calcars. Robin Goodfellow. elves. fangs like a dog. since they were found current three centuries afterwards. and that the hellwain were a kind of wandering spirits. the hellwain. since the courteous keeper was mistaken by their associate champion for Puck or Robin Goodfellow. The spells resorted to to get rid of his supposed delusions are alternative that of turning the cloak — (recommended in visions of the second-sight or similar illusions as a means of obtaining a certainty concerning the being which is before imperfectly seen ) — and that of exorcising the spirit with a cudgel which last. the man-in-the-oak. insomuch that some never fear the devil but on a dark night . and then a polled sheep is a perilous beast. faunes. sylvans. claws like a bear. Kitt-with-the-candlestick. is in part forgotten. the superstitious fancies of the people sunk gradually in esteem and influence . talking of times before his own. and many times is taken for our father's soul. and a voice roaring like a lion. tritons.” said Reginald Scot. thanks be to God.In this passage the bishop plainly shows the fairies maintained their influence in William's imagination. Hobgoblin. I might indeed say the Phuca is a Celtic superstition. “Certainly. In our childhood our mothers' maids have so terrified us with an ugly devil having horns on his head. dwarfs. Pans. incubus. and I might conjecture that the man-inthe-oak was the same with the Erl-König of the Germans. centaurs. Well. since the preaching of the Gospel. nymphs. conjurers. the descendants of a champion named Hellequin. specially when Robin Goodfellow kept such a coil in the country. Chaucer. spirits. It is not the less certain that. produced also its natural effect upon the other stock of superstitions. specially in a churchyard.

on the contrary. The catalogue. and a basin of sweet cream. must have both his food and his rest. perhaps. to disguise himself like a stool. instead of the nicely arranged little loaf of the whitest bread. from the insinuations of some scrupulous divines. how. their nicety was extreme concerning any coarseness or negligence which could offend their delicacy. their resentments were satisfied with pinching or scratching the objects of their displeasure . told round the cottage hearth. or Robin Goodfellow. if raiment or food was left in his way and for his use. Robin Goodfellow. The constant attendant upon the English Fairy court was the celebrated Puck. departed from the family in displeasure. in forgetting the very names of objects which had been the sources of terror to their ancestors of the Elizabethan age. the Elfin band was shocked to see that a person of different character. and I cannot discern. in the poem of L'Allegro. Kitt-with-the-candlestick. amid his other notices of country superstitions. in which he had some resemblance to the Scottish household spirit called a Brownie. as Milton informs us. fairies were light and sportive. who. His jests were of the most simple and at the same time the broadest comic character — to mislead a clown on his path homeward. shortly after the death of what is called a nice tidy housewife. And it is to be noticed that lie represents these tales of the fairies. If he condescended to do some work for the sleeping family. in order to induce an old gossip to commit the egregious mistake of sitting down on the floor when she expected to repose on a chair. the elves dragged the peccant housewife out of bed. The amusements of the southern. were his special enjoyments. except. as of a cheerful rather than a serious cast . and some others.* The common nursery story cannot be forgotten. at the same time. repeating. and pulled her down the wooden stairs by the heels. duly placed for their refreshment by the deceased. which illustrates what I have said concerning the milder character of the southern superstitions. their peculiar sense of cleanliness rewarded the housewives with the silver token in the shoe. in scorn of her churlish hospitality — “Brown bread and herring cobb ! Thy fat sides shall have many a bob!” But beyond such playful malice they had no desire to extend their resentment. as compared . Before leaving the subject of fairy superstition in England we may remark that it was of a more playful and gentle. Boneless. with whom the widower had filled his deserted arms. who to the elves acted in some measure as the jester or clown of the company — (a character then to be found in the establishment of every person of quality) — or to use a more modern comparison. that they were vassals to or in close alliance with the infernals. resembled the Pierrot of the pantomime. as there is too much reason to believe was the case with their North British sisterhood. however.most antiquaries will be at fault concerning the spoorn. had substituted a brown loaf and a cobb of herrings. than that received among the sister people. the selfish Puck was far from practising this labour on the disinterested principle of the northern goblin. Incensed at such a coarse regale. less wild and necromantic character. serves to show what progress the English have made in two centuries.

poisoners. and. were labour lost and time ill-employed. These superstitions have already survived their best and most useful purpose. in the gentle moonlight of a summer night in England. and with indifferent eyes to look upon my book. or the turfy swell of her romantic commons. having in it so much of interest to the imagination that we almost envy the credulity of those who. Poor Robin. however engaging. as the illusion and knavery of Robin Goodfellow. between whom and King Oberon Shakespeare contrives to keep a degree of distinct subordination. merchant. We have already seen. for I should no more prevail herein than if. which for a moment deceives us by its appearance of reality. like shadows at the advance of morn. many subordinate articles of credulity in England. saving that it hath not pleased the translators of tile Bible to call spirits by the name of Robin Goodfellow. to the people as hags and witches be now . could fancy they saw the fairies tracing their sportive ring. witches' charms and conjurers' cozenage are yet effectual. notwithstanding his turn for wit and humour. means nothing more than an Utopia or nameless country. kept its ground against argument and controversy. But it is in vain to regret illusions which. to take in good part my writings.” We are then to take leave of this fascinating article of the popular creed. and as clearly perceived. a hundred years since. Of Spenser we must say nothing. must of necessity yield their place before the increase of knowledge. while that as to witchcraft. But Robin Goodfellow ceaseth now to be much feared. by the way. and no devil indeed. amid the tangled glades of a deep forest. and cozeners by the name of witches. and in time to come a witch will be as much derided and condemned. as they have diviners. doubtless. as I well as writers only inferior to these great names. because in his “Faery Queen” the title is the only circumstance which connects his splendid allegory with the popular superstition. It was rooted in the minds of the .”* In the same tone Reginald Scot addresses the reader in the preface: — “To make a solemn suit to you that are partial readers to set aside partiality. With the fairy popular creed fell. and also as credible. I should have entreated your predecessors to believe that Robin Goodfellow. upon whom there have gone as many and as credible tales as witchcraft. as he uses it. as was afterwards but too well shown. that which follows from the same author affirms more positively that Robin's date was over: — “Know ye this. that the belief was fallen into abeyance. but the belief in witches kept its ground. however. had been but a cozening. and Popery is sufficiently discovered. nevertheless.with those of the same class in Scotland — the stories of which are for the most part of a frightful and not seldom of a disgusting quality.” This passage seems clearly to prove that the belief in Robin Goodfellow and his fairy companions was now out of date. soothsayers. had been obscured by oblivion even in the days of Queen Bess. that great and ancient bull-beggar. having been embalmed in the poetry of Milton and of Shakespeare. in a passage quoted from Reginald Scot. and survived “to shed more blood. that heretofore Robin Goodfellow and Hobgoblin were as terrible.

however sanctioned by length of time and universal acquiescence. on the other . and of the accused persons themselves. against whom the charge of sorcery was repeatedly alleged by Paulus Jovius and other authors. by their judicial confessions. on subjects which had occupied the bulls of popes and decrees of councils. Will you dispute the existence of a crime against which our own statute-book. the inference that the same species of witches were meant as those against whom modern legislation had. In short. conveyed to those who did not trouble themselves about the nicety of the translation from the Eastern tongues.common people. have attested. claim for them some distinction in a work on Demonology. the spirit of the age was little disposed to spare error. were sure to be the first to discover that the most remarkable phenomena in Nature are regulated by certain fixed laws. and in doing so incurred much misrepresentation. was a man of great research in physical science. by laws upon which hundreds and thousands have been convicted. the invention of printing. ignorant. They might say to the theologist. and studied under the celebrated Cornelius Agrippa. when unsupported by argument. while he suffered. or countenance imposture. disregard of authority. the sufficing cause to which superstition attributes all that is beyond her own narrow power of explanation. — to the jurisconsult. These two circumstances furnished the numerous believers in witchcraft with arguments in divinity and law which they conceived irrefragable. The courageous interposition of those philosophers who opposed science and experience to the prejudices of superstition and ignorance. enquiry. Notwithstanding these specious reasons. in the cause of truth and humanity. and to put a stop to the horrid superstition whose victims were the aged. the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries were periods when the revival o learning. The pursuers of exact science to its coy retreats. had introduced a system of doubt. and which could only be compared to that which sent victims of old through the fire to Moloch. and cannot rationally be referred to supernatural agency. and unhesitating exercise of the private judgment. and which are not in our times interrupted or suspended. had caused them to be suspected of magic. many or even most of whom have. to rescue the reputation of the great men whose knowledge. the fearless investigations of the Reformers into subjects thought formerly too sacred for consideration of any save the clergy. Each advance in natural knowledge teaches us that it is the pleasure of 'the Creator to govern the world by the laws which he has imposed. The learned Wier. acknowledged their guilt and the justice of their punishment? It is a strange scepticism. however venerable. as well by the easy solution it afforded of much which they found otherwise bard to explain. in which the word witch . as in reverence to the Holy Scriptures. and perhaps no little ill-will. and the code of almost all civilized countries. and defenceless. of human legislature. Learned writers arose in different countries to challenge the very existence of this imaginary crime. they might add. Will you not believe in witches? the Scriptures aver their existence. superior to that of their age. or Wierus. directed the 'punishment of death. being used in several places. in most European nations. which rejects the evidence of Scripture.

Scot also had intercourse with some of the celebrated fortune-tellers. He was. entitled “Apologie pour les Grands Hommes Accusés de Magie. which did not always spare some of the superstitions of Rome herself. besides the Rev. were maintained and kept in exercise. to Queen Christina of Sweden. Harsnet and many others (who wrote rather on special cases of Demonology than on the general question). Dr. leading a most unblemished life. or Naudæus. or Philomaths. became physician to the Duke of Cleves. was one of the first who attacked the vulgar belief. Webster assures us that he was a “person of competent learning. of the time . when justice could only accuse him of an incautious eagerness to make good his argument. a charge very inconsistent with that of sorcery. he was charged by his contemporaries as guilty of heresy and scepticism. upon this subject. Reginald Scot ought to be distinguished. at whose court he practised for thirty years with the highest reputation. and other supernatural fancies. but he also writes on the general question with some force and talent. one of whom he brings forward to declare the vanity of the science which he himself had once professed. purged their eye with rue and euphrasie. the popular ideas concerning witchcraft. besides. possession. of whom Bodin and some others neither wanted knowledge nor powers of reasoning. as he termed himself. busied during his whole life with assembling books together. after taking his degree as a doctor of medicine. whose accusation against this celebrated man was. that he denied the existence of spirits. They pressed the incredulous party with the charge that they denied the existence of a crime against which the haw had denounced a capital punishment. and enjoying the office of librarian to several persons of high rank. by so doing. and is of a nature particularly seductive to an excursive tale He appears to have studied legerdemain for the purpose of showing how much that is apparently unaccountable can nevertheless be performed without the intervention of supernatural assistance. As that law was under he stood to emanate from James himself. was a perfect scholar and man of letters.” He seems to have been a zealous Protestant.hand. To defend the popular belief of witchcraft there arose a number of advocates. He wrote an interesting work. which consists in corresponding with them. and so temperate as never to taste any liquor stronger than water. Wierus. yet did he not escape the scandal which is usually flung by their prejudiced contemporaries upon those disputants whom it is found. by confederacy and imposture. is designed to throw upon the Papists in particular those tricks in which. disregarding the scandal which. pious. and much his book. who Was reigning monarch during the hottest part . amongst others. and an earnestness in pleading his cause. even when it is impossible to persuade the vulgar that the devil has not been consulted on the occasion.” and as he exhibited a good deal of vivacity of talent. the vulgar credulity on the subject of wizards and witches. both by serious arguments and by ridicule. from the persecution of the inquisitors of the Church. as well as that of Harsnet. considering that his subject is incapable of being reduced into a regular form. Among persons who. This learned man. and of a good family. and boldly assailed. he was likely to bring upon himself. more easy to defame than to answer. Gabriel Naudé. a beneficed clergyman.

the philosophers themselves lost patience. to grant that witchcraft had existed.. and which. an others began to penetrate into its recesses it was an unknown. without patronizing the devil and the witches against their brethren of mortality. and might therefore well desire to the lives of those accused of the same. except to show the extent of his cabalistical knowledge. Assailed by such heavy charges. calling Bodin. and did not permit those who laboured in it to give that precise and accurate account of their discoveries which the progress of reason experimentally and from analysis has enabled the late discoverers to do with success. had introduced into his work against witchcraft the whole Stenographia of Trithemius. &c. Bodin. explained the zeal of Wierus to protect the tribe of sorcerers from punishment. and ill-defined region. not one the wisest. . and the like. and how they me to be such — according to the scholastic jargon. It is first to be observed that Wierus. as the affirming and defending the existence of the rime seemed to increase the number of witches. only insisting that it was a species of witchcraft consisting of they knew not what. But for a certain time the preponderance of the argument lay on the side of the Demonologists. with some inconsistency. and we may briefly observe the causes which gave their opinions. obscure. for what reason cannot well be conjectured. a lively Frenchman of an irritable habit. but certainly of something different from that which legislators. Secondly. and might exist. that e question in respect to witches was not de existentia. and which might perchance have proved unsafe to those who used it. By resorting to so subtle an argument those who impugned the popular belief were obliged. and retorted abuse in their turn. t: only demurred to what is their nature. In the meantime (the rather that the debate was on a subject particularly difficult of comprehension) the debating parties grew warm. and began to call names. league with an. certainly. was considered by Bodin as containing proof that Wierus himself was a sorcerer. and others who used their arguments. and assuredly augmented the list of executions. Paracelsus. but only de modo existendi. for a period. Hence they threw on their antagonists the offensive names of witch-patrons and witch-advocates. as if it were impossible for any to hold the opinion of Naudæus. from the state of physic science at the period when Van Helmont. we may notice that. which he had copied from the original in the library of Cornelius Agrippa. the English authors who defended the opposite side were obliged to entrench themselves under an evasion. since he thus unnecessarily placed the disposal of any who might buy the book the whole secrets which formed his stock-in-trade. suspicious from the place where found it. Scot. With a certain degree of sophistry they answered that they did not doubt the possibility of witches. with the charms for raising and for binding to the service of mortals. witch-advocates. judges.of the controversy. by stating that he himself was a conjurer and the scholar of Cornelius Agrippa. greater influence than their opponents on the public mind. Delrio. Wierus. and juries had hitherto considered the statute as designed to repress. to avoid maintaining an argument unpalatable to a degree to those in power. and from the long catalogue of fiends which it contained.

It followed that. as a string of undeniable facts. amulets. The champions who. the sympathetic powder. since such things do not exist. and their remarkable and misconceived phenomena were appealed to as proof of the reasonableness of their expectations. in a word. the discovery of the philosopher's stone was daily hoped for. “for example. Such were the obstacles arising from the vanity of philosophers and the imperfection of . This error had a doubly bad effect. that warts could be cured by sympathy — who thought. with Bacon. chiefly of a mystical character. The learned and sensible Dr. were obliged by the imperfect knowledge of the times to admit much that was mystical and inexplicable — those who opined. that hidden treasures could be discovered by the mathematics — who salved the weapon instead of the wound. it was observed that a flag and a fern never grew near each other. “Geographers on pathless downs Place elephants for want of towns. or by transplantation. could not be traced through combinations even by those who knew the effects them selves. and an opinion prevailed that the results now known to be the consequence their various laws of matter. against whose doctrine they protested. both as degrading the immediate department in which it occurred. and it is therefore in vain to seek to account for them. If. and as affording a protection for falsehood in other branches of science. was cumbered by a number of fanciful and incorrect opinions. the effects of healing by the weapon-salve. for the same reason that. for instance.” All of which undoubted wonders he accuses the age of desiring to throw on the devil's back — an unnecessary load certainly. assumes. they were themselves hampered by articles of philosophical belief which they must have been sensible contained nearly as deep draughts upon human credulity as were made by the Demonologists. that the art of chemistry was accounted mystical.” This substitution of mystical fancies for experimental reasoning gave. a doubtful and twilight appearance to the various branches physical philosophy. imaginary often mystical causes were assigned to them. while the opposers of the ordinary theory might have struck the 'deepest blows at the witch hypothesis by an appeal to common sense. in their own province. whereas the fern loves a deep dryish soil. an argument turning on the impossible or the incredible.Natural magic — a phrase use to express those phenomena which could be produced knowledge of the properties of matter — had so much in it that was apparently uncombined and uncertain. for instance. in the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries. and electricity. magnetism. was imputed to some antipathy between these vegetables nor was it for some time resolved by the natural rule. according to the satirist. with Napier. The attributes of the divining-rod were fully credited. that the flag has its nourishment in marshy ground. the curing of various diseases by apprehensions. until such phenomena were traced to their sources. opinions which our more experienced age would reject as frivolous fancies. the circumstance. could not consistently use. writing in detection of supposed witchcraft. and detected murders as well a springs of water by the divining-rod.Webster. to confute the believers in witches. Physical science. in the wilds of a partially discovered country.

he will obtain the full sight which lie desires. but are uniformly found to disgust and offend at least the more sensible part of the public when the punishments become frequent and are relentlessly inflicted. p.” book. from difference of events ascribed to them. but the good seed which they had sown remained uncorrupted in the soil. ii. it must always be remembered. and may probably find it to be his own fetch. . under pretext of Witchcraft ——Florimond's Testimony concerning the Increase of Witches in his own Time — Bull of Pope Innocent VIII. however — The Maid of Orleans — The Duchess of Gloucester — Richard the Third's Charge against the Relations of the Queen Dowager — But Prosecutions against Sorcerers became more common in the end of the Fourteenth Century — Usually united with the Charge of Heresy — Monstrelet's Account of the Persecution against the Waldenses. seeking sometimes to be feared. If he turn his cloak or plaid. when as it is but one and the same malignant fiend that meddles in both. denounced against witchcraft. 213. PENAL laws. A common instance is that of a person haunted with a resemblance whose face he cannot see. * Friars limited to beg within a certain district.” book vii. or wraith. In the next letter I shall take a view of the causes which helped to remove these impediments. p. to the general increase of knowledge and improvement of experimental philosophy. 191. edit. in his ” Treatise on Unbelief. “Wife of Bath's Tale. 178. Jackson. chap. Those against treason are no exception.” — Jackson on Unbelief. ad inquirendum — Prosecution for Witchcraft not frequent in the Elder Period of the Roman Empire — Nor in the Middle Ages — Some Cases took place. * Reginald Scot's “Discovery of Witchcraft. 1625. like those of the Middle Ages. to bear fruit so soon as the circumstances should be altered which at first impeded its growth. * Reginald Scot's “Discovery of Witchcraft. chap. divided into good and bad. 15. * Dr. — Various Prosecutions in Foreign Countries under this severe Law — Prosecutions in Labourt by the Inquisitor De Lancre and his Colleague — Lycanthropy — Witches in Spain — In Sweden — and particularly those Apprehended at Mohra. in addition. or double-ganger.their science. edited by Octavius Gilchrist. LETTER VII Penal Laws unpopular when rigidly exercised — Prosecution of Witches placed in the hand of Special Commissioners.” * Corbett's Poems. p. which suspended the strength of their appeal to reason and common sense against the condemning of wretches to a cruel death on account of crimes which the nature of things rendered in modern times totally impossible We cannot doubt that they suffered considerably in the contest. may be at first bailed with unanimous acquiescence and approbation.” opines for the severe opinion. * Corbett's Poems. for the bodily harmes or good turncs supposed to be in his power. vii. otherwhiles to he loued as God. “Thus are the Fayries. which was carried on with much anger and malevolence.

But being considered as obnoxious equally to the canon and civil law. Commissions of Inquisition were especially empowered to weed out of the land the witches and those who had intercourse with familiar spirits. and a capital punishment assigned to those who were supposed to have accomplished by sorcery the death of others. to make innovation in the state. which. authorizing them to visit those provinces of Germany. France. in which probably the higher and better instructed members of the clerical order put as little faith at that time as they do . and the severity of the tortures they inflicted. or Italy where any report concerning witches or sorcery had alarmed the public mind . either in humanity or policy. than to vex others and weary themselves by secret investigations into dubious and mystical trespasses. proud of the trust reposed in them. the various kingdoms adopted readily that part of the civil law. and by a reaction natural to the human mind desired. might wring the truth out of all suspected persons. and authors of sedition in the empire. Special warrants were thus granted from time to time in behalf of such inquisitors. in prudence. But no general denunciation against witchcraft itself. glutted the public with seas of innocent blood. by false prophecies or otherwise. before we come to notice the British Islands and their Colonies.Each reflecting government will do well to shorten that melancholy reign of terror which perhaps must necessarily follow on the discovery of a plot or the defeat of an insurrection. that the subtlety of the examinations. and a me sui generis. to prolong the blind veneration of the people. In Catholic countries on the continent. In the earlier period of the Church of Rome witchcraft is frequently alluded to. to wait till the voice of the nation calls to them. The influence of the Churchmen was in early times secure. or in any other respect fell under the ban of the Church. or to have attempted. as Mecænas to Augustus. “Surge tandem canrnifex !” It is accordingly remarkable. when the Papal system had attained its highest pitch of power and of corruption. appears to have been so acted upon. which denounces sorcerers and witches as rebels to God. to take away or restrict those laws which had been the source of carnage. until the later period of the sixteenth century. and they rather endeavoured. as a league with the Enemy of Man. and how uniformly men loathed the gore after having swallowed it. until they rendered the province in which they exercised their jurisdiction a desert from which the inhabitants fled. and those Commissioners. A short review of foreign countries. how often at some particular period of their history there occurred an epidemic of terror of witches. under pretext of consulting with the spiritual world. in order that their posterity might neither have the will nor the mean to enter into similar excesses. in different countries. They ought not. already mentioned. by the fabrication of false miracles. will prove the truth of this statement. as well as the heretics who promulgated or adhered to false doctrine. had not some of the inquisitors themselves been reporters of their own judicial exploits : the same hand which subscribed the sentence has recorded the execution. as fear is always cruel and credulous. It would be impossible to give credit to the extent of this delusion. thought it becoming to use the utmost exertions on their part. or desertion of the Deity.

we may impute the trial of the Duchess of Gloucester. The Duke of Bedford. or to represent them as exclusively the rendezvous of witches or of evil spirits. The mean recurrence to such a charge against such a person had no more success than it deserved. the fathers of the Roman Church were in policy reluctant to abandon such impressive spots. as Mr. Here she was stated to have repaired during the hours of divine service. respected for the cures which it had wrought. On the contrary. It is true that this policy was not uniformly observed. but a cruel instance of wicked policy mingled with national jealousy and hatred. and a fountain arising under it. a sacrifice to a superstitious fear of witchcraft. were in this hostile charge against her described as enchanted implements. The death of the innocent. by her courage and enthusiasm manifested on many important occasions. about the same period. although Jeanne was condemned both by the Parliament of Bordeaux and the University of Paris. while the wise on both sides considered her as neither the one nor the other. or venerated mount. But in this instance also the alleged . designed by the fiends and fairies whom she worshipped to accomplish her temporary success. around the tree and fountain. skipping. The story of the celebrated Jeanne d'Arc. Whitfield is said to have grudged to the devil the monopoly of all the fine tunes. the obsolete idolatry which in ancient times had been rendered on the same spot to the Genius Loci . The English vulgar regarded her as a sorceress — the French as an inspired heroine. they acquired. if it could be conveniently garrisoned and defended. called the Fated or Fairy Oak of Bourlemont. revived the drooping courage of the French. doubtless. preserves the memory of such a custom. we are sorry to say. a frontier fortress which they wrested from the enemy. took away her life in order to stigmatize her memory with sorcery and to destroy the reputation she had acquired among the French. To the same cause. which was in that case turned to the prejudice of the poor woman who observed it. dancing. and thereafter banished to the Isle of Man. for the defence of their own doctrine. highminded. and which it was at least needless to dismantle. The Duchess was condemned to do penance. gathered for the purpose. and hanging on the branches chaplets and garlands of flowers. was not. which she had represented as signs of her celestial mission. accused of consulting witches concerning the mode of compassing the death of her husband's nephew. called the Maid of Orleans. after having. It is well known that this unfortunate female fell into the hands of the English. a huge oak-tree. Did there remain a mineral fountain. and making gestures. The charmed sword and blessed banner. which beauty of situation had recommended to traditional respect. reviving. but a tool used by the celebrated Dunois to play the part which he assigned her. by assigning the virtues of the spring or the beauty of the tree to the guardianship of some saint. Her indictment accused her of having frequented an ancient oak-tree. and inspired them with the hope of once more freeing their country. as it were. Henry VI. when the ill-starred Jeanne fell into his hands.now. and perhaps amiable enthusiast. Thus the Church secured possession of many beautiful pieces of scenery. while several of her accomplices died in prison or were executed. wife of the good Duke Humphrey.

But in the meanwhile. The accusation in both cases was only chosen as a charge easily made and difficult to be eluded or repelled. as a matter of course. when he brought the charge of sorcery against the Queen Dowager. abounded especially where the Protestants were most numerous. the aspersion itself was gradually considered with increase of terror as spreading wider and becoming more contagious. Jane Shore.witchcraft was only the ostensible cause of a procedure which had its real source in the deep hatred between the Duke of Gloucester and Cardinal Beaufort. thus fortifying the kingdom of Satan against that of the Church. the bitterness increasing. at by the Catholics in thus confusing and blending the doctrines of heresy and the practice of witchcraft. and how a meeting of inoffensive Protestants could be cunningly identified with a Sabbath of hags and fiends. according to their account.* A remarkable passage in Monstrelet puts in a clear view the point aimed. which. The Jesuit Delrio alleges several reasons for the affinity which he considers as existing between the Protestant and the sorcerer. and. The more severe enquiries and frequent punishments by which the judges endeavoured to check the progress of this impious practice seem to have increased the disease. upon those who dissented from the Catholic standard of faith. express their regret that the crime was growing more frequent than in any former age. In the same century schisms arising from different causes greatly alarmed the Church of Rome. as the accusation of witchcraft thus afforded to tyranny or policy the ready means of assailing persons whom it might not have been possible to convict of any other crime. . The Waldenses and Albigenses were parties existing in great numbers through the south of France. the scrupled not to throw the charge of sorcery. The universal spirit of enquiry which was now afloat. had in almost all of them stirred up a sceptical dissatisfaction with the dogmas of the Church — such views being rendered more credible to the poorer classes through the corruption of manners among the clergy too many of whom wealth and ease had caused to neglect that course of morality which best recommends religious doctrine. sects who agreed chiefly in their animosity to the supremacy of Rome and their desire to cast off her domination. he accuses the former of embracing the opinion of Wierus and other defenders of the devil (as he calls all who oppose his own opinions concerning witchcraft). The Romanists became extremely desirous to combine the doctrine of the heretics with witchcraft. The same pretext was used by Richard III. So early as the year 1398 the University of Paris. afterwards Archbishop of Canterbury. taking a different direction in different countries. In almost every nation in Europe there lurked in the crowded cities. as indeed it has been always remarked that those morbid affections of mind which depend on the imagination are sure to become More common in proportion as public attention is fastened on stories connected with their display. or the wild solitude of the country. his half-brother. in laying down rules for the judicial prosecuting of witches. and the queen's kinsmen . and yet again was by that unscrupulous prince directed against Morton. and other adherents of the Earl of Richmond.

prelates. though he allows the conduct of the judges to have been most odious. both men and women. should banish themselves from that part of the country. This sect consisted. arose. an opinion called. repaired to some solitary spot. “never free from the most wretched excess of fascination . Some there were. Many even of those also confessed being persuaded to take that course by the interrogators. thrown into prison. and fortune of wealth persons. and would confess nothing imputed to their charge . to destroy the life. by the power of the devil. informing in how he would be obeyed. under cloud of night. besides. and tortured for so long a time that they also were obliged to confess what was charged against them. who suffered with marvellous patience and constancy the torments inflicted on them. that they had seen and recognised in their nocturnal assembly many persons rank. who. being such names as the examinators had suggested to the persons examined.” Delrio himself confesses that Franciscus Balduinus give an account of the pretended punishment. where the devil appeared before them in a human form — save that his visage is never perfectly visible to them — read to the assembly a book of his ordinances. by an arret dated 20th May. After this those of mean condition were executed and inhumanly burnt. in the town of Arras and county of Artois. of certain persons. distributed a very little money and a plentiful meal. notwithstanding their mishandling. of a truth.” he says. the Religion of Vaudoisie. too. “On accusations of access to such acts of madness. while the richer and more powerful of the accused ransomed themselves by sums of money. Several of those who had been thus informed against were arrested. and governors of bailliages and ties. and adds that the Parliament of Paris. and in order. he cannot prevail on himself to acquit the parties charged by such interested accusers with horrors which should hardly have been found proved even upon . after which each one of the party was conveyed home to her or his own habitation. were still able to move. but they. while they constrained them by torture to impeach the persons to whom they belonged. but real persecution.“In this year (1459). of these Waldenses. 1491. seigneurs.” and finally.” Monstrelet winds up this shocking narrative by informing us “that it ought not to be concealed that the whole accusation was a stratagem of wicked men for their own covetous purposes. I know not why. These were so horribly tortured that some of them admitted the truth of the whole accusations. “The Waldenses (of whom the Albigenses are a species) were. fame. “several creditable persons of the town of Arras were seized and imprisoned along with some foolish men and persons of little consequence. had to give large sums to the judges. had declared the sentence illegal and the judges iniquitous. but adheres with lingering reluctance to the of whom the truth of the accusation. it is said. amid woods and deserts. whose suspicions are distinctly spoken out. and said. The Jesuit Delrio quote the passage. by these false accusations and forced confessions. to avoid the punishment and the shame attending it. in similar terms with Monstrelet. having heard the affair by appeal. through a terrible and melancholy chance. who exacted that such of them as. which was concluded by a scene of general profligacy.” continues Monstrelet. who promised them indemnity for life and fortune.

and that by their sorceries they afflict both man and beast.” and so forth. and calculated to make an impression the very reverse probably of that which the writer would have desired:“All those who have afforded us some signs of the approach of Antichrist agree that the increase of sorcery and witchcraft is to distinguish the melancholy period of his advent. and persevered in his inquiries till human patience was exhausted. others of having merely joined the choral dances around the witches' tree of rendezvous Several of their husbands and . the grapes of the vineyard. after which jurisdiction was deferred to the archbishop. rang the tocsin against this formidable crime.”* This last statement. the grass and herbs of the field. and punish. according to the civilian's opinion. and set forth in the most dismal colours the guilt. who had just then obtained his doctor's degree in civil law. destroy the births of women. and France . About 1485 Cumanus burnt as witches forty-one poor women in one year in. A number of unfortunate wretches were brought for judgment. “It is come to our ears. by which it appears that the most active and unsparing inquisition was taking place. That prelate consulted Alciatus himself. about the same period. while it stimulated the inquisitors to the unsparing discharge of their duty in searching out and punishing the guilty. A bull of Pope Innocent VIII. Dreadful were the consequences of this bull all over the Continent. There are not judges enough to try them. No day passes that we do not render our tribunals bloody by the dooms which we pronounce. or in which we do not return to our homes discountenanced and terrified at the horrible contents of the confessions which it has been our duty to hear. “ that numbers of both sexes do not avoid to have intercourse with the infernal fiends. in spite of bolts and bars. and called upon to “convict. and the people arose and drove him out of the country. Alciatus states that an inquisitor. Germany.the most distinct evidence. He appeals on this occasion to Florimond's work on Antichrist.” says the bull. Our dungeons are gorged with them. that they blight the marriage-bed. the county of Burlia. the fruits of the trees. imprison. and the increase of cattle . Some were accuse of having dishonoured the crucifix and denied their salvation others of having absconded to keep the Devil's Sabbath. The introduction of that work deserves to be quoted. to which he was afterwards an honour. as strongly illustrative of the condition to which the country was reduced. And the devil is accounted so good a master that we cannot commit so great a number of his laves to the flames but what there shall arise from their ashes a number sufficient to supply their place. corresponds with the historical notices of repeated persecutions upon this dreadful charge of sorcery. burnt an hundred sorcerers in Piedmont. especially in Italy. and was ever age so afflicted with them as ours? The seats destined for criminals before our judicatories are blackened with persons accused of this guilt. for a course of hellebore than for the stake.” For which reasons the inquisitors were armed with the apostolic power. In the ensuing years he continued the prosecution with such unremitting zeal that many fled from the country. they blast the corn on the ground. fitter.

in all probability. and by mere force. and multitudes were burnt amid that gay and lively people. The fiend lost much credit by his failure on this occasion. His story assumes the form of a narrative of a direct war between Satan on the one side and the Royal Commissioners on the other. they declared. out the month of May. Forty-eight witches were burnt at Ravensburgh within four years. A few extracts from the preface will best evince the state of mind in which he proceeded to the discharge of his commission. boasts that he put to death 900 people in fifteen years.” In Lorraine the learned inquisitor. royal councillor in the Parliament of Bordeaux. some of the accused found means." though. suffered death. to confess and be hanged. The judges took care that the fiend seldom obtained any advantage in the matter by refusing their victims. reported to have been committed in Labourt and its neighbourhood.” says Councillor de Lancre. with whom the President Espaignel was joined in a commission to enquire into certain acts of sorcery. 1619. in spite of him. the country four leagues around Constance was laid waste by lightning and tempest. and two women being.relatives swore that they we in bed and asleep during these pretended excursions Alciatus recommended gentle and temperate measures. Notwithstanding this. that the profound stupor “had something of Paradise in it. to stop the mouth of the accused openly. any interval of rest or sleep. About 1515. at the foot of the Pyrenees.” from which we may suppose many suffered for heresy. in most cases. being gilded. In 1524. Before the formidable . In the beginning of the next century the persecution of witches broke out in France with a fury which was hardly conceivable. 1. Satan endeavoured to supply his vassals who were brought before the judges with strength to support the examinations.* In 1488. “nothing is so calculated to strike terror into the fiend and his dominions as a commission with such plenary powers. in the way of direct defiance. Pierre de Lancre.” said the judge. Satan then proceeded. it rather derived its charms from the natural comparison between the insensibility of exhaustion and the previous agony of acute torture. in Italy. “with the immediate presence of the devil. As many were banished from that country. on the authority of Mengho. to put the devil to shame. the author of the “Malleus Malleficarum. or rather burnt.000 persons were put to death in one year at Como. so that whole towns were on the point of becoming desolate. so that if. Remigius. 500 persons were executed at Geneva. the wretches should fall into a doze. made to confess themselves guilty as the cause of the devastation.” At first. “because. by intermission of the torture. with something like a visible obstruction in their throat. and about 100 every year after for several years. with self-complaisance. under the character of “Protestant witches. Some notion of the extreme prejudice of their judges may be drawn from the words of one of the inquisitors themselves. when they were recalled from it to the question. an the minds of the country became at length composed. by fair means or foul. as Hutchison reports.

whereas he was now insulted publicly by his own vassals. The chief reason seems to be that it is a mountainous. as well as the ignorant . and the witches were directed to procure such victims accordingly. and Satan answered each of them in a tone which resembled the voice of the lamented parent almost as successfully as Monsieur Alexandre could have done. he had held his cour plénière before the gates of Bourdeaux. The priest. the Arch-fiend covered his defection by assuring them that he had been engaged in a lawsuit with the Deity. has composed a quarto volume full of the greatest absurdities and grossest obscenities ever impressed on paper. it was the pleasure of the most Christian Monarch to consign the most absolute power which could be exercised on these poor people. who seemed to have suffered. he stoutly affirmed that their parents. where the men are all fishers and the women smoke tobacco and wear short petticoats. When he took courage again to face his parliament. and encouraged the mutinous o walk through them. assuring them that the judicial pile was as frigid and inoffensive as those which he exhibited to them. and that six score of infant children were to be delivered up to him in name of damages. of whom the animal was the natural enemy. the Commissioners. and conceited spirit. and in whom no one reposed confidence. and yet had so little power in the matter that he could only express his resentment by threats that lie would hang Messieurs D'Amon and D'Urtubbe. and look how you have kept your word with us! They have been burnt. I have no time to detail the ingenious method by which the learned Councillor de Lancre explains why the district of Labourt should be particularly exposed to the pest of sorcery. gentlemen who had solicited and promoted the issuing of the Commission. he abandoned for three or four sittings his attendance on the Sabbaths. trifling. and a border country.Commissioners arrived. taking his refuge in lies. Again. To a person who. “Out upon you ! Your promise was that our mothers who were prisoners should not die. and are a heap of ashes. a sterile. and would also burn the Commissioners themselves in their own fire. in this presumptuous. as they were his natural prey. which he had gained with costs. sending as his representative an imp of subordinate account. placed the gibbet on which they executed their victims just on the spot where Satan's gilded chair was usually stationed. Ashamed of his excuses. Proceeding to a yet more close attack. of which he is well known to be the father.” To appease this mutiny Satan had two evasions He produced illusory fires. and in the midst of his festival of the Sabbath the children and relations of the witches who had suffered not sticking to say to him. were safe in a foreign country. on the eve of one of the Fiend's Sabbaths. After this grand fiction he confined himself to the petty vengeance of impeding the access of confessors to the condemned. which was the more easy as few of them could speak the Basque language. The devil was much offended at such an affront. We regret to say that Satan was unable to execute either of these laudable resolutions. and that if their children would call on them they would receive an answer. They made the invocation accordingly. and he might with as much prudence have turned a ravenous wolf upon an undefended flock. and in the square of the palace of Galienne.

and throttled the dogs which stood in their defence. The idea.” and the discrepancy of evidence. of transforming himself into the shape of a wolf. resembling one of those mutilated trunks of trees found in ancient forests. which in some cases was supposed to aid the metamorphosis. far more than he could devour. after which the crime itself was heard of no more. that the accused were brought to trial to the number of forty in one day — with what chance of escape. which he supposed the Lord of the Forest himself. with better taste. transformed into the likeness and performed the usual functions of a wolf. it may be remarked that the accused. a mere youth. and could only hear the evidence and the defence through the medium of an interpreter. we may believe. a melancholy state of mind. Such a person. he said. and De Lancre writes. as suffering torture. or yeoman pricker. He was. to call his comrade to his share of the prey. and in that capacity. some. Such was the general persecution under Messieurs Espiagnel and De Lancre. particularly. The more incredulous reasoners would not allow of a real transformation. in what their judges called confessions. fell under the suspicion of this fell Commission. some a man disfigured and twisted. like the animal whom he represented. with much complacency. These wolves. and was attended in his course by one larger.* While the spirit of superstition was working such horrors in France. on the one hand. being seized with a species of fury. All spoke to a sort of gilded throne. said the one party. by his master's power. Scot. Instances occur in De Lancre's book of the trial and condemnation of persons accused of the crime of 1ycanthropy. but was known in other countries. was tried at Besançon. Naudé. But De Lancre was no “Daniel come to judgment. a superstition which was chiefly current in France. was that a human being had the power. contradicted each other at every turn respecting the description of the Domdaniel in which they pretended to have been assembled. beheld a huge indistinct form. whether with or without the enchanted hide of a wolf. if be did not come upon this signal. which saved the life and fame of Susannah. when the judges were blinded with prejudice. long the residence . he rushed out and made havoc among the flocks. and contended that lycanthropy only subsisted as a woful species of disease. in which the patient imagined that he committed the ravages of which he was accused. he proceeded to bury it the best way he could. Many similar scenes occurred in France. and the fiend who presided there. more idle in other countries of Europe. he howled. broken with occasional fits of insanity. discharging all future prosecutions for witchcraft. by sorcery. who gave himself out for a servant. till the edict of Louis XIV. and their demonological adversaries on the other. the understanding of the reader may easily anticipate. after the manner of the animal. If either had not seen the other. of the Lord of the Forest — so he called his superior — who was judged to be the devil. In Spain. slaying and wasting. and is the subject of great debate between Wier. ravaged the flocks. made no impression in favour of the sorcerers of Labourt. it was not.peasant. Among other gross transgressions of the most ordinary rules. but some saw a hideous wild he-goat seated there.

The melancholy truth that “the human heart is deceitful above all things. and . as they advance in years. during the subsistence of the Moorish kingdoms in Spain. under the usual age of their being admitted to give evidence. that “honesty is the best policy. the first words they stammer forth are a falsehood to excuse it. and a sense of the truth of the common adage. the former out of pride. gaiety of spirit. It was. and their labours cost as much blood on accusations of witchcraft and magic as for heresy and relapse. and a specimen of it was exhibited in the sober and rational country of Sweden about the middle of last century.” is by nothing proved so strongly as by the imperfect sense displayed by children of the sanctity of moral truth. If they are charged with fault while they can hardly speak. supported exclusively by the evidence of children (the confessions under torture excepted). have by their art and perseverance made shipwreck of men's lives. were supposed to be allied to necromancy. who in this case were both actors and witnesses.” But these are acquired habits of thinking. good and evil genii. and committing great cruelty and injustice. the pleasure of enjoying importance. spells and talismans. from some general reflection upon the necessity of preserving a character for integrity in the course of life. and imperfectly understood even by those who studied them. excited general surprise how a whole people could be imposed upon to the degree of shedding much blood. the business of the Inquisition to purify whatever such pursuits had left of suspicious Catholicism. but more likely of chemistry. will at any time overcome the sentiment of truth. a people putting deep faith in all the day-dreams of witchcraft. altogether mistaken by the ignorant and vulgar. of course. that the character of a liar is a deadly stain on their honour. find means of rendering children useful in their mystery . In former times. an account of which. and from a remaining feeling. from a surprisingly early period.of the Moors. as is experienced by all who have the least acquaintance with early youth. a school was supposed to be kept open in Toboso 'for the study. derived from the days o chivalry. the other. or accomplish a holiday. there is something resembling virtue in the fidelity with which the common secret is preserved. being translated into English by a respectable clergyman. the ardent and devotional temper of the old Christians dictated a severe research after sorcerers as well as heretics. But it would be hard to discover a case which. Both the gentlemen and the mass of the people. and it is terrible to see how often the little impostors. Where a number of them are concerned in the same mischief. The child has no natural love of truth. Children. and other sciences. and relapsed Jews or Mahommedans. Hence thieves and housebreakers. the desire to escape from an unpleasing task. it is said. Even the colder nations of Europe were subject to the same epidemic terror for witchcraft. and desperately wicked. learn to despise and avoid falsehood . nor are such acolytes found to evade justice with less dexterity than the more advanced rogues. Doctor Horneck. algebra. Nor is this all: the temptation of attracting attention. were necessarily often examined in witch trials . of magic. so weak is it within them. which. from spite or in mere. on account of the idle falsehoods propagated by a crew of lying children. or at least to natural magic.

the Brockenberg. so many as threescore and ten witches and sorcerers being seized in the village of Mohra. that is. The devil courteously appeared at the call of the children in various forms. meaning. the punishment of these agents of hell. and that their body remained behind. Their confession ran thus: — They were taught by the witches to go to a cross way. He set each child on some beast of his providing. and anointed them with a certain unguent composed of the scrapings of altars and the filings of church clocks. though the parents unanimously bore witness that the bodies of the children remained in bed. in the Hartz forest. or given cause to so extensive and fatal a delusion. were that a number of persons. besides. renowned as witches. nevertheless. had drawn several hundred children of all classes under the devil's authority. reminding the judges that the province had been clear of witches since the burning of some on a former occasion. as it is called. with linen of various colours wrapt round it. Twenty of the youngest were condemned to the same discipline for three days only.obviously existing only in the young witnesses' own imagination. which district had probably its name from some remnant of ancient superstition. has been attended with such serious consequences. Some supposed. where most of them were executed. and to which Goethe represents the spirit Mephistopheles as conducting his pupil Faustus. perhaps. They demanded. and hearing the extraordinary story which the former insisted upon maintaining. The complaints of the common people. in the province of Elfland. So strong was. and hearts hardened against every degree of compassion to the accused. with a grey coat. Six-and-thirty of those who were young were forced to run the gauntlet. The delusion had come to a great height ere it reached the ears of government. though they shook them for the purpose of awakening them. The accused were numerous. Most of the children considered their journey to be corporeal and actual. with ears open to receive the incredibilities with which they were to be crammed. The children. the belief of . Fifteen of the children were also led to death. when. and could not be awakened out of a deep sleep. There is here a discrepancy of evidence which in another court would have cast the whole. as that which occurred in Sweden. however. begging him to carry them off to Blockula. threeand-twenty confessed their crimes. Very few adopted this last hypothesis. and were sent to Faluna. The process seems to have consisted in confronting the children with the witches. the number of three hundred. therefore. and were. and with certain ceremonies to invoke the devil by the name of Antecessor. lashed weekly at the church doors for a whole year. that their strength or spirit only travelled with the fiend. as was the general procedure. The scene was the Swedish village of Mohra. a red beard. and garters of peculiar length. were found more or less perfect in a tale as full of impossible absurdities as ever was told around a nursery fire. a mountain infamous for being the common scene of witches' meetings. to. backed by some persons of better condition. Royal Commissioners were sent down. a high-crowned hat. men well fitted for the duty entrusted to them . but chiefly as a mad Merry-Andrew. red and blue stockings.

given her by the devil for that purpose. there might be some who suffered unjustly. had the utmost difficulty. and the despairing wretches confirmed what the children said. At last some of them burst into tears. on which we cafe not to be particular. followed out. might think they were bewitched or ready to be carried away by imps. and acquiesced in the horrors imputed to them.nurses and mothers in their actual transportation. spread abroad in the kingdom. if they saw their children any way disordered. into the head of the minister of Elfland . than to allow. The learned translator candidly allows. is it not more reasonable to believe that the whole of the accused were convicted on similar grounds. mentioned in the preface. Nor will I deny. being broth made of coleworts and bacon. who were married together. One old sorceress. the slightest part of the gross and vulgar impossibilities upon which alone their execution can be justified? The Blockula. “but that when the news of these transactions and accounts. as he seems ready to grant. but with little success. If human beings had been employed they were left slumbering against the wall of the house.” he continues. condemned. that a sensible clergyman. with bread and butter. some fearful and credulous people. “out of so great a multitude as were accused. which. and produced an offspring of toads and serpents. and was much lamented at Blockula — but he soon revived again. and executed. which was the object of their journey.” * The learned gentleman here stops short in a train of reasoning. The same acts of wickedness and profligacy were committed at Blockula which are usually supposed to take place upon the devil's Sabbath elsewhere. and milk and cheese. For if it was possible that some of these unfortunate persons fell a sacrifice to the malice of their neighbours or the prejudices of witnesses. with a paddock. as truth. pretended at one time to be dead. would have deprived the world of the benefit of his translation. in convincing his mother that the child had not been transported to Blockula during the very night he held him in his embrace. was a house having a fine gate painted with divers colours. attempted to strike a nail. but as the skull was of unusual solidity. The plan of the devil's palace consisted of one large banqueting apartment and several withdrawing-rooms. the reverend gentleman only felt a . who had resolved he would watch his son the whole night and see what hag or fiend would take him from his arms. in which they turned the beasts to graze which had brought them to such scenes of revelry. It is worth mentioning that the devil. desirous of enjoying his own reputation among his subjects. and owed their death more to the malice of their enemies than to their skill in the black art. These confessions being delivered before the accused witches. Their food was homely enough. they at first stoutly denied them. I will readily admit. notwithstanding. They said the practice of carrying off children had been enlarged very lately (which shows the whole rumours to have arisen recently). with many other extravagant circumstances. as the mode of elongating a goat's back by means of a spit. indeed. but there was this particular. that the witches had sons and daughters by the fiends. Some attempts these witches had made to harm individuals on middle earth. how the children bewitched fel into fits and strange unusual postures.

“His judges and commissioners. and at this expense of blood was extinguished a flame that arose as suddenly. both of whom attest the confession and execution of the witches. who wished to apologise to his parents for lying an hour longer in the morning by alleging he had been at Blockula on the preceding night. that Heaven would be pleased to restrain the powers of the devil. and that of Baron Lyonberg. and told them that these doings should not last long. and shows the whole tale to be the fiction of the children's imagination. “ Some of the children talked much of a white angel. whilst those of weaker minds assented. and those who denied or were silent. as well as the innocent children. as it was considered. which used to forbid them what the devil bid them do. Those who were ingenuous. The total number who lost their lives on this singular occasion was fourscore and four persons. And (they added) this better being would place himself sometimes at the door betwixt the witches and the children.” The translator refers to the evidence of Baron Sparr. but the witches went in. The Commissioners returned to Court with the high approbation of all concerned. excusing themselves by alleging that their witchcraft had left them. Antony Horneck. The King of Sweden himself answered the express inquiries of the Duke of Holstein with marked reserve. The reader may consult “An Account of what happened in the Kingdom of Sweden in the years 1669 and 1670. and. he was not as yet able to determine” — a sufficient reason. and decayed as rapidly. as any portent of the kind within the annals of superstition. prayers were ordered through the churches weekly. that the smarter children began to improve their evidence and add touches to the general picture of Blockula. we should probably find that the cry was led by some clever mischievous boy. or only the effects of strong imagination. and that the devil had amused them with the vision of a burning pit. perhaps. and that the desire to be as much distinguished as their comrade had stimulated the bolder and more acute of his companions to the like falsehoods. and deliver the poor creatures who hitherto had groaned under it. If we could ever learn the true explanation of this story. received praise and encouragement. But whether the actions confessed and proved against them were real. either from fear of punishment or the force of dreaming over at night the horrors which were dinned into their ears all day. Envoy Extraordinary of the same power.” This additional evidence speaks for itself.headache from her efforts. It is worth while also to observe. Ambassador from the Court of Sweden to the Court of England in 1672. which some of them wished to improve upon. in their confessions. They could not be persuaded to exhibit any of their tricks before the Commissioners. who were carried off by hundreds at once. “had caused divers men. . to be burnt and executed on such pregnant evidence as was brought before them. and children. and when they came to Blockula he pulled the children back. as it was termed. women. and afterwards translated out of High Dutch into English by Dr. including fifteen children . having a hand thrust out of it. impenitent.” he said. burned as fiercely. were sure to bear the harder share of the punishment which was addressed to all.” attached to Glanville's “Sadducismus Triumphatus.

and where it is in a high degree more interesting to our present purpose. Hutchinson quotes “H. viii. * Translator's preface to Horneck's ” Account of what happened in the Kingdom of Sweden. “De Magia. * Florimond. the pretended Witchfinder.” See appendix to Glanville's work. “De Magia. 820. 22. n. LETTER VIII. third.why punishment should have been at least deferred by the interposition of the royal authority. and the execution of the Family of Samuel — That of Jane Wenham. “Concerning the Antichrist. 7. in which some Church of England Clergymen insisted on the Prosecution — Hutchison's Rebuke to them — James the First's Opinion of Witchcraft — His celebrated Statute. by the Catholics .” cap. The Effects of the Witch Superstition are to be traced in the Laws of a Kingdom — Usually punished in England as a Crime connected with Politics — Attempt at Murder for Witchcraft not in itself Capital — Trials of Persons of Rank for Witchcraft. I — Canon passed by the Convocation against Possession — Case of Mr. Bart. Fairfax's Children — Lancashire Witches in 1613 — Another Discovery in 1634 — Webster's Account of the manner in which the Imposture was managed — Superiority of the Calvinists is followed by a severe Prosecution of Witches — Executions in Suffolk. to a dreadful extent — Hopkins. connected with State Crimes — Statutes of Henry VIII. Juris. . and also by some Puritanic Clergymen — Statute of 1562. first.” 105.” See the Preface. chap. de Spina. I Jac. * The reader may sup full on such wild horrors in the causes célèbres . &c. Dr. quoted by Delrio. and the belief in the Crime becomes forgotten — Witch Trials in New England — Dame Glover's Trial — Affliction of the Parvises. 5. by the Church of England and Lutherans — Impostures unwarily countenanced by individual Catholic Priests.” p. and some cases upon it — Case of Dugdale — Case of the Witches of Warbois. * Alciat. “Parerg. by the Calvinists . — How Witchcraft was regarded by the three Leading Sects of Religion in the Sixteenth Century. Lowis — Hopkins Punished — Restoration of Charles — Trial of Coxe — Of Dunny and Callendar before Lord Hales — Royal Society and Progress of Knowledge — Somersetshire Witches — Opinions of the Populace — A Woman Swum for Witchcraft at Oakly — Murder at Tring — Act against Witchcraft abolished. in which our knowledge as to such events is necessarily more extensive. and frightful Increase of the Prosecutions — Suddenly put a stop to — The Penitence of those concerned in them. * Delrio. We must now turn our eyes to Britain.” lib. 161. Institor. de Strigilibus. the cause of these Cruelties — His Brutal Practices — His Letter — Execution of Mr. second.

depending upon the inaccurate testimony of vague report and of doting tradition. and was not. visited with any statutory penalty. And it may be remarked that the inquiry into the date of the King's life bears a close affinity with the desiring or compassing the death of the Sovereign. Other superstitions arose and decayed. no doubt. But when the alarm of witchcraft arises. But to attempt or execute bodily harm to others through means of evil spirits. The existence of witchcraft was. as in every other country. therefore. no doubt. under this fixed opinion. or. in the provinces in which they have a temporary currency. received and credited in England. and originally punished accordingly. without greater embarrassment. or the like. were dreaded or despised. real or fanciful. was actionable at common law as much as if the party accused had done the same harm with an arrow or pistol-shot. indeed. a . than that cowards and children go out more seldom at night. wave his hat and cry Buzz! accordingly. with its accompanying circumstances. he ought to be executed as a murderer. and records in the annals of jurisprudence their trials and the causes alleged in vindication of their execution. We would not. is yet a higher degree of guilt. by whatever means it had been either essayed or accomplished. Superstition dips her hand in the blood of the persons accused. Respecting other fantastic allegations. Thus the supposed paction between a witch and the demon was perhaps deemed in itself to have terrors enough to prevent its becoming an ordinary crime. on which they acquitted or condemned. be punishable. the promulgation of such a prediction has. where the connexion between the resort to sorcerers and the design to perpetrate a felony could be clearly proved. depend chiefly on the instances which history contains of the laws and prosecutions against witchcraft. But after the fourteenth century the practices which fell under such a description were thought unworthy of any peculiar animadversion. in like manner. because.OUR account of Demonology in England must naturally. The destruction or abstraction of goods by the like instruments. who pronounces (in his “Table-Talk") that if a man heartily believed that lie could take the life of another by waving his hat three times and crying Buzz ! and should. as in the countries on the Continent. while the reports of ghosts and fairies are peculiarly current. that we have the best chance of obtaining an accurate view of our subject. the proof is necessarily transient and doubtful. would. however idle in itself. familiar spirits. unless they were connected with something which would have been of itself a capital crime. the consulting soothsayers. A fortiori . and the obtaining and circulating pretended prophecies to the unsettlement o the State and the endangering of the King's title. supposing the charge proved. Upon such charges repeated trials took place in the courts of the English. therefore. in a word. and condemnations were pronounced. which is the essence of high treason. But a false prophecy of the King's death is not to be dealt with exactly on the usual principle. by the black art. It is. with sufficient justice. But in cases of witchcraft we have before us the recorded evidence upon which judge and jury acted. in times such as we are speaking of. and can form an opinion with some degree of certainty of the grounds. be disposed to go the length of so high an authority as Selden. in tracing this part of Demonology.

and who acknowledged themselves such before the court and people. About seven years after this.. But these cases rather relate to the purpose for which the sorcery was employed. suffered for the charge of trafficking with witches. witchcraft. the legislature probably regarded those who might be brought to trial as impostors rather than wizards. the other against the act of conjuration. “Vestigia nulla retrorsum. We have already mentioned the instance of the Duchess of Gloucester. and sorcery. and at the same time against breaking and destroying crosses. The prohibition against witchcraft might be also dictated by the king's jealous doubts of hazard to the succession. Two remarkable statutes were passed in the Year 1541. The sacred motto of the Vatican was. but this pertinacity at length made her citadel too large to be defended at every point by a garrison whom prudence would have required to abandon positions which had been taken in times of darkness. to the prejudice of those in authority. witchcraft. of maintaining every doctrine which her rulers had adopted in dark ages. invented by the devil.” and this rendered it impossible to comply with the more wise and moderate of her own party. in 1562. The Papal Church had long reigned by the proud and absolute humour which she had assumed. one against false prophecies. Many persons. and confessed her fraud upon the scaffold. The enactment against breaking crosses was obviously designed to check the ravages of the Reformers. In 1521. There are instances of individuals tried and convicted as impostors and cheats. and some of great celebrity. But it is here proper to make a pause for the purpose of enquiring in what manner the religious disputes which occupied all Europe about this time influenced the proceedings of the rival sects in relation to Demonology. At length. This latter statute was abrogated in the first year of Edward VI. but in their articles of visitation the prelates directed enquiry to be made after those who should use enchantments. In the same reign. who would . The former enactment was certainly made to ease the suspicious and wayward fears of the tetchy King Henry. in Henry the Sixth's reign. sorcery. or any like craft. Lord Hungerford was beheaded for consulting certain soothsayers concerning the length of Henry the Eighth's life. perhaps as placing an undue restraint on the zeal of good Protestants against idolatry. and were unsuited to the warfare of a more enlightened age. was actually passed. a formal statute against sorcery. the Duke of Buckingham was beheaded. and that of the Queen Dowager's kinsmen. owing much to his having listened to the predictions of one Friar Hopkins. who in England as well as elsewhere desired to sweep away Popery with the besom of destruction. as penal in itself.strong tendency to work its completion. who had been esteemed a prophetess. than to the fact of using it. the Maid of Kent. afterwards the Third. She suffered with seven persons who had managed her fits for the support of the Catholic religion. but as the penalty was limited to the pillory for the first transgression. was put to death as a cheat. in the Protectorate of Richard.

Insensibly they became occupied with the ideas and tenets natural to the common people. and could. The learned men at the head of the establishment might safely despise the attempt at those hidden arts as impossible. even if they were of a more credulous disposition. as its clerical discipline was settled on a democratic basis. with views of ambition as ample as the station of a churchman ought to command.otherwise have desired to make liberal concessions to the Protestants. in of undisputed power. affecting upon every occasion and on all points to observe an order of church-government. they permitted poison to be distilled. and. their belief in and persecution of such crimes as witchcraft and sorcery were necessarily modelled upon the peculiar tenets which each system professed. in its commencement. as a source both of power and of revenue — that if there were no possessions. according to her belief. to call in the secular arm men for witchcraft a crime which fell especially under ecclesiastical cognizance. The more selfish part of the priesthood might think that a general belief in the existence of witches should be permitted to remain. Such being the general character of the three Churches. as in themselves admirable. which. chemistry. in short. that a wholesome faith in all the absurdities of the vulgar creed as to supernatural influences was necessary to maintain the influence of Diana of Ephesus. as well as of worship. were gradually thrown on the support of the people. and thus prevent. algebra. as we have seen. honestly conceived and boldly expressed. or. Betwixt these extremes the Churchmen of England endeavoured to steer a middle course retaining a portion of the ritual and forms of Rome. there could be no exorcism-fees — and. harshness and severity. if they have usually the merit of being. and other pursuits vulgarly supposed to approach the confines of magic art. they might be unwilling to make laws by which their own enquiries in the mathematics. The Church of Rome. and as the countries which adopted that form of government were chiefly poor. and the excellent provisions made for their education afforded them learning to confute ignorance and enlighten prejudice. since every friar had the power of reversing them. and carried into effect with unhesitating. might be inconveniently restricted. the preachers having lost the Tank and opulence enjoyed by the Roman Church. As the foundation of this sect was laid in republican states. — in a word. because . a formidable schism in the Christian world. expressly in the teeth of its enactments. Tendered them independent of the necessity of courting their flocks by any means save regular discharge of their duty. the connexion of their system with the state. be subdued by the spiritual arm alone. gave rise to various results in the countries where they were severally received. to be a good Protestant. They suffered spells to be manufactured. they held it almost essential to be in all things diametrically opposite to the Catholic form and faith. Their comparatively undilapidated revenue. To the system of Rome the Calvinists offered the most determined opposition. and at any rate too greatly venerated by the people to be changed merely for opposition's sake. are not the less often adopted with credulity and precipitation. was unwilling.

imprison. regarded the success of the exorcising priest. yet disapproved of her ritual and ceremonies as retaining too much of the Papal stamp. in the year 1523. On the whole. called to convict. We have no purpose to discuss the matter in detail — enough has probably been said to show generally why the Romanist should have cried out a miracle respecting an incident which the Anglican would have contemptuously termed an imposture. the Calvinists. Such of them as did not absolutely deny the supernatural powers of which the Romanists made boast. the robes of the priest. It was not till the universal progress of heresy. without doubt. on such subjects as we are now discussing. like the holy water. would have styled the same event an operation of the devil. fundamentally as much opposed to the doctrines of Rome as those who altogether disclaimed opinions and ceremonies merely because she had entertained them. and resented bitterly. But their position in society tended strongly to keep them from adopting. while the divines of the Church of England possessed the upper hand in the kingdom. The bull of Pope Innocent was afterwards. and condemn the sorcerers. and excite and direct the public hatred against the new sect by confounding their doctrines with the influence of the devil and his fiends. The exorcisms. in diametrical opposition to the doctrine of the Mother Church. forms. by which good Catholics believed that incarnate fiends could be expelled and evil spirits of every kind rebuked — these. the most undoubting believers in its existence. above all.every convent had the antidote which was disposed of to all who chose to demand it. The leading divines of the Church of England were. and the sign of the cross. the Calvinists considered either with scorn and contempt as the tools of deliberate quackery and imposture. witchcraft. were of all the contending sects the most suspicions of sorcery. chiefly because it was the object to transfer the odium of these crimes to the Waldenses. It followed that. inspired with a darker zeal. the King of the Devils. as at best a casting out of devils by the power of Beelzebub. to whatever extent they admitted it. and the most eager to follow it up with what they conceived to be the due punishment of the most fearful of crimes. in the end of the fifteenth century. with a new one. They assumed in the opposite sense whatever Rome pretended to as a proof of her omnipotent authority. with the unceasing desire of open controversy with the Catholics. They saw also. generally speaking. While Rome thus positively declared herself against witches and sorcerers. in whose numbers must be included the greater part of the English Puritans. or with horror and loathing. though trials and even condemnations for that offence . who. and. the Calvinists. in which excommunication was directed against sorcerers and heretics. while the Calvinist. that the bull of Pope Innocent VIII. and rites. ranked themselves. the attempt to confound any dissent from the doctrines of Rome with the proneness to an encouragement of rites of sorcery.. already quoted. enforced by Adrian VI. though they had not finally severed from the communion of the Anglican Church. either the eager credulity of the Vulgar mind or the fanatic ferocity of their Calvinistic rivals. in accordance with their usual policy. as the fit emblems and instruments of an idolatrous system.

unusually successful. The passing of Elizabeth's statute against witchcraft in 1562 does not seem to have been intended to increase the number of trials. a principle already referred to by Dr. will increase or decrease according as such doings are accounted probable or impossible. to avoid such a tempting opportunity as a supposed case of possession . The numbers of witches. connecting its ceremonies and usages with those of the detested Catholic Church. by the faith reposed in them. and publicly showed her fits and tricks of mimicry. of course. The period was one when the Catholic Church had much occasion to rally around her all the respect that remained to her in a schismatic and heretical kingdom. and when her fathers and doctors announced the existence of such a dreadful disease. called the Maid of Westwell. or cases of conviction at least . so that Reginald Scot and others alleged it was the vain pretences and empty forms of the Church of Rome. and entertained a strong and growing suspicion that legitimate grounds for such trials seldom actually existed. Under the former supposition. Two children were tried in 1574 for counterfeiting possession. Francis Hutchison will be found to rule the tide and the reflux of such cases in the different churches. charges and convictions will be found augmented in a terrific degree. supposing him more tender of the interest of his order than that of truth. and ceremonies. and affords little trouble to the judges. produced as evidence of the demon's influence on the possessed person. but she also confessed her imposture. were nevertheless often tempted to admit them as real. were nothing else than marks of imposture by some idle vagabond.occasionally occurred. Nor did prosecutions on account of such charges frequently involve a capital punishment. and their supposed dealings with Satan. These cases of possession were in some respects sore snares to the priests of the Church of Rome. When the accusations are disbelieved and dismissed as not worthy of attention. Fearing and hating sorcery more than other Protestants. ceases to occupy the public mind. a general persecution of sorcerers and witches seemed to take place of consequence. which had led to the belief of witchcraft or sorcery in general. and. and the fact is. while learned judges were jealous of the imperfection of the evidence to support the charge. The strong influence already possessed by the Puritans may probably be sufficient to account for the darker issue of certain cases. furnished another instance of possession. to cure it. On the other hand. the Calvinists were more eager than other sects in searching after the traces this crime. and take the credit of curing them. and of the power of the church's prayers. Mildred Norrington. who. strange sounds. it was difficult for a priest. the crime becomes unfrequent. and pursuing it to the expiation of the fagot. in making discoveries of guilt. while they were too sagacious not to be aware that the pretended fits. did not create that epidemic terror which the very suspicion of the offence carried with it elsewhere. it did neither the one nor the other. and other extravagances. contortions. it usually happened that wherever the Calvinist interest became predominant in Britain. relics. in which both juries and judges in Elizabeth's time must be admitted to have shown fearful severity. In a word. as they might suppose. and stood in the pillory for impostors.

dropped in the supposed sufferer's presence. adopted some of their ideas respecting demoniacs. who. and they got so regardless of Satan as to taunt him with the mode in which he executed his promise to teach his vassal dancing. Harsnett's celebrated book on Popish Impostures. and during his possession played a number of fantastic tricks. and exercised themselves in appointed days of humiliation and fasting during the course of a whole year. in which Roman ecclesiastics had not hesitated to mingle themselves. since a hint or two. whose case the regular clergy appeared to have neglected. and we have now to add that they also claimed. as extremes usually approach each other. on condition of being made the best dancer in Lancashire. that power of expelling devils which the Church of Rome pretended to exercise by rites. after they had relieved guard in this manner for some little time. wherein he gives the history of several notorious cases of detected fraud. as he was not obliged to adopt the suspected and degrading course of holding an immediate communication in limine with the impostor. cannot the universal seed-plot of subtile wiles and stratagems spring up one new method of cutting capers? 'Is this the top of skill and pride. ceremonies. At this he might hesitate the less. That of Grace Sowerbutts. This person threw himself into the hands of the Dissenters. and relics. We have already stated that. in their eagerness. The memorable case of Richard Dugdale. who weekly attended the supposed sufferer. This youth was supposed to have sold his soul to the devil. instructed by a Catholic priest to impeach her grandmother of witchcraft. was a very gross fraud. limited to the ecclesiastics of Rome. or to abstain from conniving at the imposture. to shuffle feet and brandish knees thus. Canst thou dance no better? &c. On this subject the reader may turn to Dr. They fixed a committee of their number. called the Surrey Impostor. Satan! is this the dancing that Richard gave himself to thee for? &c. however. and brought more discredit on the Church of Rome than was counterbalanced by any which might be more cunningly managed. was one of the most remarkable which the Dissenters brought forward. not much different from those exhibited by expert posture-masters of the present day. in their violent opposition to the Papists. Such cases were not. It was hardly to be wondered at. and to trip like a doe and skip like a squirrel? And wherein differ thy leapings from the . by the vehemence of prayer and the authority o their own sacred commission. canst thou not there find out some better way of trampling? Pump thine invention dry.offered for displaying the high privilege in which his profession made him a partaker. All respect for the demon seems to have abandoned the reverend gentlemen. if the ecclesiastic was sometimes induced to aid the fraud of which such motives forbade him to be the detector. he wanted no further instruction how to play it. caught at an opportunity to relieve an afflicted person. Ransack the old records of all past times and places in thy memory. and if the patient was possessed by a devil of any acuteness or dexterity. in order to obtain for his church the credit of expelling the demon. mightgive him the necessary information what was the most exact mode of performing his part. Such combinations were sometimes detected. The following specimen of raillery is worth commemoration: — “What. the Dissenters.

dispatched by the wicked Mother . seeing the poor old woman in a black knitted cap. and the eldest of them at last got up a vastly pretty drama. attended a regular physician. and their daughter a young woman. weary of his illness. out of the estate of the poor persons who suffered. Throgmorton. Indeed. and was ever after exclaiming against her. though.hoppings of a frog. or the bouncings of a goat. from education. Hutchison pleads that the Church of England has the least to answer for in that matter. called the Witches of Warbois. for the endowment of an annual lecture on the subject of witchcraft. they were less prone to prejudice than those of other sects. which now attracted little notice. Johnson. after their year of vigil. But the reverend gentlemen who had taken his case in hand still assumed the credit of curing him. Even while Dr. But the nursery drama of Miss Throgmorton had a horrible conclusion. for Sir Samuel Cromwell. and twitch up thy houghs just like a springhault tit?”* One might almost conceive the demon replying to this raillery in the words of Dr. The accused. and was cured of that part of his disease which was not affected in a regular way par ordonnance du médecin. They said that the effect of their public prayers had been for a time suspended. and other advantages. and most readers may remember having had some Utopia of their own. or gesticulations of a monkey? And cannot a palsy shake such a loose lea as that ? Dost thou not twirl like a calf that hath the turn. intercourse with the world. having received the sum of forty pounds as lord of the manor. The other children of this fanciful family caught up the same cry. their story is a matter of solemn enough record. it would have been this occasion. A singular case is mentioned of three women. or make-believe stories. he is under the necessity of acknowledging that some regular country clergymen so far shared the rooted prejudices of congregations. The daughter of a Mr. so. until seconded by the continued earnestness of their private devotions! The ministers of the Church of England. This young lady and her sisters were supposed to be haunted by nine spirits. are the common amusement of lively children . Such imaginary scenes. however simple. Cambridge.” The dissenters were probably too honest. to achieve a complete cure on Dugdale by an amicable understanding. took a whim that she had bewitched her. and of the government which established laws against it. are yet far from being entirely free of the charge of encouraging in particular instances the witch superstition. and if anything could have induced them to sing Te Deum. in which she herself furnished all the scenes and played all the parts. and obtain the knowledge of the perpetrator. one Samuel and his wife were old and very poor persons. “This merriment of parsons is extremely offensive. turned it into a rent-charge of forty shillings yearly. or friskings of a dog. and even in countenancing the superstitious signs by which in that period the vulgar thought it possible to ascertain the existence of the afflictions by witchcraft. at a time when she was not very well. Dugdale. as to be active in the persecution of the suspected. to be preached by a doctor or bachelor of divinity of Queen's College. they relinquished their task by degrees.

Mother Samuel's complaisance in the latter case only led to a new charge. as was supposed. clipped out some of her hair. did battle for her with the less friendly spirits. “he had broken your neck also. had some disease on her nerves. they furnished the counterpart by telling what the spirits had said to them. and his cousins Smacks would beat the other two. Mrs. and the third with his arm in a sling. the first with his head broken. Joan. “that you are able to beat them. supposed that one of the Smacks was her lover. Hardname. scratch her. Smack?” says the afflicted young lady . However. the scene. for such it certainly is. and especially of the old dame and her cat. Mr. for yon are all naught. and gave it to Mrs. who were cousins. be had broken Pluck's head. “and what news do you bring?” Smack. I pray you?” said the damsel. Throgmorton also compelled the old woman and her . He told her of his various conflicts. dreamed of her day's work. abusing her with the worst epithets. “I would. and the following curious extract will show on what a footing of familiarity the damsel stood with her spiritual gallant : “From whence come you. with your dame for company. Throgmorton to burn it for a counter-charm. Nay. and torture her. great cowl-staves.” On this repulse. “Look you for thanks at my hand?” said the distressed maiden. a ruinous bakehouse in Dame Samuel's yard.” said the damsel. nothing abashed. he soon afterwards appeared with his laurels. Joan Throgmorton. in vain that she underwent unresistingly the worst usage at the hand of Lady Cromwell. you are little. Miss Throgmorton and her sisters railed against Dame Samuel. Throgmorton brought her to his house by force. about fifteen. It happened that the Lady Cromwell. the little fiends longed to draw blood of her. “he would beat the best two of them. It was in vain that this unhappy creature endeavoured to avert their resentment by submitting to all the ill-usage they chose to put upon her. all trophies of Smack's victory. and when Mr. tore her cap from her head. on her return home. Catch. and three Smacks. was mixed with tragedy enough. and they very big. as her ladyship died in a year and quarter from that very day. The sapient parents heard one part of the dialogue. and. as the witch-creed of that period recommended. “And who got the mastery. Blue. or Jane. “I wonder. and Catch.” This most pitiful mirth. and whose fancy ran apparently on love and gallantry). when the children in their fits returned answers.” “He cared not for that.” said Mrs. Smack answered. the other limping. and promised to protect her against Mother Samuel herself. “I would you were all hanged up against each other. yet the poor woman incurred deeper suspicion when she expressed a wish to leave a house where she was so coarsely treated and lay under such odious suspicions. Mr. They disappeared after having threatened vengeance upon the conquering Smack. exit Smack. informed her he came from fighting with Pluck: the weapons.Samuel for that purpose. and enter Pluck. The names of the spirits were Pluck. Blue. it was sagaciously concluded that she must have fallen a victim to the witcheries of the terrible Dame Samuel. and when the patients from time to time recovered.” “Is that the thanks I am to have for my labour?” said the disappointed Smack. the eldest (who. like other young women of her age.” he replied. who. to the spirits who afflicted them. her landlady.

who had carried on the farce so long that they could not well escape from their own web of deceit but by the death of these helpless creatures. the prisoner. in which the poor old victim joined loudly and heartily. Dame Samuel. to which she answered disdainfully. 1593. by pretences of bewitched persons vomiting fire — a trick very easy to those who chose to exhibit such a piece of jugglery amongst such as rather desire to be taken in by it than to detect the imposture. who. to show her sanity of mind and the real value of her confession. The witchfinder practised upon her the most vulgar and ridiculous tricks or charms. These unfortunate Samuels were condemned at Huntingdon. caught at the advice recommended to her daughter. justice Fenner. and a causer of Lady Cromwell's death. and that the devil must be the father. as she was termed. and were inclined to think they had a Joanna Southcote before them. One is ashamed of an English judge and jury when it must be repeated that the evidence of these enthusiastic and giddy-pated girls was deemed sufficient to the condemnation of three innocent persons. 4th April. and this was accounted a proof that the poor woman. was a witch. saved the country from the ultimate disgrace attendant on too many of these unhallowed trials. there was a laugh among the unfeeling audience. It was a singular case to be commemorated by an annual lecture. but gave their countenance to some of the ridiculous and indecent tricks resorted to as proofs of witchcraft by the lowest vulgar. seconded by that of other reflecting and sensible persons. Some of the country clergy were carried away by the land-flood of superstition in this instance also. We may here mention. was at length worried into a confession of her guilt by the various vexations which were practised on her. which was of a much later date. for the purposes of justice were never so perverted. did as she was bidden. should be taken away by a set of barbarous tricks and experiments. before Mr. and she was necessarily condemned to die. But her husband and daughter continued to maintain their innocence. the efficacy of which depended on popular credulity. who could not understand that the life of an English-woman. the Witch of Walkerne. The usual sort of evidence was brought against this poor woman. He reprieved the . Some there were who thought it no joking matter. I will not be both held witch and strumpet!” The mother. and not only encouraged the charge. who pitied her youth. however mean. than many persons placed in the like circumstances. to gain at least a respite by pleading pregnancy. “As I am a witch. She was advised by some. More fortunate.daughter to use expressions which put their lives in the Power of these malignant children. though of a forced and mutilated character. But the good sense of the judge. however. The last showed a high spirit and proud value for her character. was induced to say to the supposed spirit. though mainly for the sake of contrast. only subdued and crushed by terror and tyranny. nor her sword turned to a more flagrant murder. As her years put such a plea out of the question. as provided by Sir Samuel Cromwell. “No. indeed. For example. Under such proof the jury brought her in guilty. I charge thee to come out of the maiden. Jane Wenham was tried before a sensible and philosophic judge. Goody Samuel. and out of a perverted examination they drew what they called a confession. the much-disputed case of Jane Wenham.” The girl lay still.

Colonel Plummer of Gilston. it was not an usual point of their professional character. edifying her visitors by her accuracy and attention in repeating her devotions. A humane and high-spirited gentleman. she laid them down very submissively. and . who kept you from shedding innocent blood. and. — whom did you consult. instead of closing your book with a liberavimus animas nostras and reflecting upon the court. and begged she might pot go to gaol. placed the poor old woman in a small house near his own and under his immediate protection. when she was called witch and bitch. putting at defiance popular calumny. The rest of the history is equally a contrast to some we have told and others we shall have to recount. and reviving the meanest and cruelest of all superstitions amongst us?”* But although individuals of the English Church might on some occasions be justly accused of falling into lamentable errors on a subject where error was so general. in her innocent simplicity. she only took the proper means for the vindication of her good name .witch before be left the assize-town. in honest and fair reputation. that you could put into the narrative of her case? When she was denied a few turnips. excepting in that case where she complied with you too much. or do an immoral action. &c. And what could any of us have done better. would have let you swim her. and it must be admitted that the most severe of the laws against witchcraft originated with a Scottish King of England. and you gave way to that barbarous usage that she met with. This was her behaviour. I ask you (5) Whether you have not more reason to give God thanks that you met with a wise judge. and from whom did you expect your answers? Who was your father? and into whose hands did you put yourselves? and (if the true sense of the statute had been turned upon you) which way would you have defended yourselves? (4) Durst you have used her in this manner if she had been rich? and doth not her poverty increase rather than lessen your guilt in what you did ? “And therefore. Here she lived and died. and used that ridiculous trial of the bottle. removed from her brutal and malignant neighbours. and. or what act of witchcraft could you prove upon her? Laws are against evil actions that can be proved to be of the person's doing. and a sensible gentleman. fell upon her knees. when her door was broken open. As this was one of the last cases of conviction in England. and offered to let you swim her ? “(3) When you used the meanest of paganish and popish superstitions — when you scratched and mangled and ran pins into her flesh. What single fact that was against the statute could you fix upon her? I ask (2) Did she so much as speak an imprudent word. when she saw this storm coming upon her she locked herself in her own house and tried to keep herself out of your cruel hands. Dr Hutchison has been led to dilate upon it with some strength of eloquence as well as argument. He thus expostulates with some of the better class who were eager for the prosecution: — “(1) What single fact of sorcery did this Jane Wenham do? What charm did she use. she protested her innocence. and at her trial she declared herself a clear woman. never afterwards gave the slightest cause of suspicion or offence till her dying day.

if not the mere creature of imposture. The English statute against witchcraft. devils. whese repeated attempts on his person had long been James's terror. Unfortunately. according to King James's fancy. when the Calvinists obtained for a short period a predominating influence in the councils of Parliament. the Convocation of the Church evinced a very different spirit. establishing that no minister or ministers should in future attempt to expel any devil or. had begun his Course of rebellion by a consultation with the weird sisters and soothsayers. to extend and enforce the laws against a crime which he both hated and feared. though imprudently. This gave much wider scope I o prosecution on the statute than had existed under the milder acts of Elizabeth. that crime could be perpetrated. as itself a crime. appear to have led at first to many . seeing the ridicule brought on their sacred profession by forward and presumptuous men. without necessary reference to the ulterior objects of the perpetrator. were also proud of his supposed abilities and real knowledge of books and languages. who. each of which was declared felony. and disgraceful folly among the inferior church-men. without benefit of clergy. It is remarkable that in the same year. Several had been executed for an attempt to poison him by magical arts. Men might now be punished for the practice of witchcraft. the monarch had composed a deep work upon Demonology. without the license of his bishop . James succeeded to Elizabeth amidst the highest expectations on the part of his new people. in the attempt to relieve demoniacs from a disease which was commonly occasioned by natural causes. besides the more harmless freak of becoming a prentice in the art of poetry. when it was at the highest. disposed to gratify him by deferring to his judgment in matters wherein his studies were supposed to have rendered him a special proficient. by which words and numbers were the only sufferers. and were naturally. however. is therefore of a most special nature. Thus the king. The new statute of James does not. for. moreover. embracing in their fullest extent the most absurd and gross of the popular errors on this subject. and who conceived he knew them from experience to be his own — who. besides their general satisfaction at coming once more under the rule of a king. passed in the very first year of that reign. He considered his crown and life as habitually aimed at by the sworn slaves of Satan. they passed a canon. who had proved with his pert the supposed sorcerers to be the direct enemies of the Deity. and the turbulent Francis Stewart. Earl of Bothwell. describing witchcraft by all the various modes and ceremonies in which.that the only extensive persecution following that statute occurred during the time of the Civil Wars. when the legislature rather adopted the passions and fears of the king than expressed their own by this fatal enactment. thereby virtually putting a stop to a fertile source of knavery among the people. had upon much lighter occasions (as in the case of Vorstius) showed no hesitation at throwing his royal authority into the scale to aid his arguments — very naturally used his influence.

The celebrated case of ” the Lancashire witches” (whose name was and will be long remembered. a scholar of classical taste.” In allusion to his credulity on such subjects. The admitting this last circumstance to be a legitimate mode of proof. in Knaresborough Forest. followed soon after. The chief person age in the drama is Elizabeth Southam. An obliging correspondent sent me a sight of a copy of this curious and rare book. be confuted even by the most distinct alibi . and by appearing before the afflicted in their own shape during the crisis of these operations. the fatal sentence was to rest. and made so wise and skilful a charge to the jury. Throgmorton in the Warbois case. is uncertain.prosecutions. To hear thy harp. that the objects of his prosecution were persons of good character. by imps. but that the evidence of the sufferers related to the appearance of their spectre . not upon the truth of the witnesses' eyes. that they brought in a verdict of not guilty. the translator of Tasso's “Jerusalem Delivered. the spectrum of the accused old man or old woman. The original story ran thus: — These Lancaster trials were at two periods. The obvious tendency of this doctrine. or apparition. Mr. One of the most remarkable was (proh pudor! ) instigated by a gentleman. Whether the first notice of this sorcery sprung from the idle head of a mischievous boy. and that the judge was a man of sense. and. was to place the life and fame of the accused in the power of any hypochondriac patient or malignant impostor. and a beautiful poet. who might either seem to see. Barons of Exchequer. It happened fortunately for Fairfax's memory. Fairfax accused six of his neighbours of tormenting his children by fits of an extraordinary kind. for it could not. as if enjoying and urging on the afflictions which she complained of. whose corporeal presence must indeed have been obvious to every one in the room as well as to the afflicted. and another of the name of Preston at York. according to the ideas of the demonologists. a witch redoubted under the name of Dembdike. partly from Shadwell's play. The report against these people is drawn up by Thomas Potts. being no other than Edward Fairfax of Fayston. whose undoubting mind Believed the magic wonders which he sung!” Like Mr. gave a most cruel advantage against the accused. by British Fairfax strung. as to visionary or spectral evidence. To a defence of that sort it was replied that the afflicted person did not see the actual witch. but more from the ingenious and well-merited compliment to the beauty of the females of that province which it was held to contain). as it was called. the one in 1613. but that of their imagination. but there is no doubt that it was speedily caught up and fostered for the purpose of gain. strange to tell. and this was accounted a sure sign of guilt in those whose forms were so manifested during the fits of the afflicted. or aver she saw. before Sir James Altham and Sir Edward Bromley. an account of whom may be . and who were complained of and cried out upon by the victim. Collins has introduced the following elegant lines: — “How have I sate while piped the pensive wind. when nineteen witches were tried at once at Lancaster. Prevailing poet.

But it ended in near a score of persons being committed to prison. He declared that while engaged in the charm they made such ugly faces and looked so fiendish that he was frightened. He was directly changed into a horse. declared that while gathering bullees (wild plums.” as well as a description of Manikins' Tower. and against the alleged accomplice also. charms. Mother Dembdike had the good luck to die before conviction. and took Robinson before her. They then rode to a large house or barn called Hourstoun. the dogs refused to run. a little boy instead of the other. Several of the unhappy women were found not guilty. and some such goodly matter. from which. the scene of the alleged witching. Such was the first edition of the Lancashire witches. and the consequence was that young Robinson was carried from church to church in the neighbourhood. as to secure a good brewing of ale or the like. It appears that this remote county was full of Popish recusants. which he imagined to belong to gentlemen in that neighbourhood. as they pulled them.” says the editor. The public imputed to the accused parties a long train of murders. Old Robinson. porringers of milk. travelling priests. for. saying ” Nay. went along with his son. into which Edmund Robinson entered with others. a neighbour's wife. whose father. perhaps) in one of the glades of the forest. “ apparent. conspiracies. Among other tales. seeing nobody following them. in the boy's fancy. and whatever else might. complete a rustic feast. The boy reported that. when one Dame Dickenson.seen in Mr. a very poor man. together with lumps of butter. and some of their spells are given in which the holy names and things alluded to form a strange contrast with the purpose to which they were applied. It is remarkable that some of the unfortunate women endeavoured to transfer the guilt from themselves to others with whom they had old quarrels.” Apparently she was determined he should have full evidence of the truth of what he said. young Robinson was about to punish them with a switch. hellish and damnable practices. He there saw six or seven persons pulling at halters. that he might recognise the faces of any persons he had seen at the rendezvous of witches. which he refused. Mother Dickenson mounted. meat ready dressed came flying in quantities. to the great displeasure of the ignorant people of the county. . he saw two greyhounds. mischances. the witches' place of meeting. and knew. visible nowhere else. There was more to the same purpose — as the boy's having seen one of these haps sitting half-way up his father's chimney. who had been an evidence against the former witches in 1613. The witness averred that Mother Dickenson offered him money to conceal what he had seen. “ on their own examinations and confessions. to speak the truth. Roby's ” Antiquities of Lancaster. like the Magician Queen in the Arabian Tales. she pulled out of her pocket a bridle and shook it over the head of the boy who had so lately represented the other greyhound. we have one of two female devils. but though a hare was started. In that which follows the accusation can be more clearly traced to the most villanous conspiracy. he proposed to have a course. called Fancy and Tib. which confessions were held good evidence against those who made them.” and. started up instead of the one greyhound. About 1634 a boy called Edmund Robinson. and so forth. dwelt in Pendle Forest. thou art a witch. On this.

a parish church. and the state of church-government was altered. or did not some person teach thee to say such things of thyself?' But the two men did pluck the boy from me. but that they utterly denied. which made some little disturbance for the time. that he was instructed and suborned to swear these things against the accused persons by his father and others. Wier has considered the clergy of every sect as being too eager in this species of persecution: Ad gravem hanc impietatem. But it is not to be denied that the Presbyterian ecclesiastics who. the influence of the Calvinistic divines increased. assumed the title of Witchfinder General. and. superintending . and Huntingdon. in those unsettled times. and a keen desire to extend and enforce the legal penalties against it. In the presence of a great many many people I took the boy near me and said. he was gathering plums in a neighbour's orchard. To whom I replied. connivent theologi plerique omnes .* There was now approaching a time when the law against witchcraft. sufficiently bloody in itself. how to make his journey profitable. when men did what seemed good in their own eyes. and the severe prosecutions in the Star Chamber and Prerogative Courts. it is to be regretted these were still marked by unhesitating belief in the existence of sorcery. and they never asked him such a question. didst thou hear and see such strange things of the motions of the witches as many do report that thou didst relate. in Scotland. and as the King's party declined during the Civil War. such as Calamy and Baxter. were often appointed by the Privy Council Commissioners for the trial of witchcraft. to look about him.” After prayers Mr. tell me truly and in earnest. and said be had been examined by two able justices of peace. for a season a great degree of popularity in England. travelling through the counties of Essex.doubtless. and that the temporary superiority of the same sect in England was marked by enormous cruelties of this kind. and was heard often to confess that on the day which be pretended to see the said witches at the house or barn. who. was preaching at the time. and two very unlikely persons. Webster sought and found the boy. To this general error must impute the misfortune that good men. ' Good boy. being then curate there. Sussex. ' The persons accused had the more wrong. The great Civil War had been preceded and anticipated by the fierce disputes of the ecclesiastical parties. in his more advanced years. “ This boy. The rash and ill-judged attempt to enforce upon the Scottish a compliance with the government and ceremonies of the High Church divines. had given the Presbyterian system. pretended to discover witches. and his son probably took care to recognise none who might make a handsome consideration. evinced a very extraordinary degree of credulity in such cases. where I.” says Webster. who.'“ The boy afterwards acknowledged. “ did conduct him and manage the business: I did desire some discourse with the boy in private. With much strict morality and pure practice of religion. says he. should have countenanced or defended such proceedings as those of the impudent and cruel wretch called Matthew Hopkins. was to be pushed to more violent extremities than the quiet scepticism of the Church of England clergy gave way to. Norfolk. “ was brought into the church at Kildwick.

I spoke with many understanding. for the benefit of his memory certainly. it moved him to send it to sink the ship. he declares his regular charge was twenty shillings a town. The hanging of a great number of witches in 1645 and 1646 is famously known. at any rate. and compelling forlorn and miserable wretches to admit and confess matters equally absurd and impossible. Upon this occasion he had made himself busy. with an assistant named Sterne. and having a character suited to the seasons which raise them into notice and action. when an epidemic outcry of witchcraft arose in that town. Among the rest an old reading. Calamy went along with the judges on the circuit to hear their confessions. in which Satan. pious. to . as he saw a ship under sail. and moved from one place to another. and credible persons that lived in the counties. A monster like Hopkins could only have existed during the confusion of civil dissension. and a female. and that one of them was always putting him upon doing mischief. being near the sea. Before examining these cases more minutely. Mr. named Lowis.” and without doing him the justice due to one who had discovered more than one hundred witches. and he. learned. He also affirms that he went nowhere unless called and invited. including charges of living and journeying thither and back again with his assistants. which that good man received as indubitable. and brought them to confessions. and saw the ship sink before them. just as a blight on any tree or vegetable calls to life a peculiar insect to feed upon and enjoy the decay which it has produced. It is remarkable that in this passage Baxter names the Witchfinder General rather slightly as ” one Hopkins. I will quote Baxter's own words. the issue of which was the forfeiture of their lives. he resided there in the year 1644. for no one can have less desire to wrong a devout and conscientious man.parson . from experiment. and that Hopkins availed himself of this record. learned his trade of a witchfinder. though borne aside on this occasion by prejudice and credulity. and told her to keep it in a can near the fire. and some that went to them in the prisons. who confessed that he had two imps. Perhaps the learned divine was one of those who believed that the Witchfinder General had cheated the devil out of a certain memorandum-book. was one that was hanged. and she would never want. had entered all the witches' names in England.” Mr.”* It may be noticed that times of misrule and violence seem to create individuals fatted to take advantage from them. and be consented. He was afterwards permitted to perform it as a legal profession. and thrust pins into various parts of their body. His principal mode of discovery was to strip the accused persons naked. and more such stuff as nursery-maids tell froward children to keep them quiet. affecting more zeal and knowledge than other men. and heard their sad confessions. In his defence against an accusation of fleecing the country.their examination by the most unheard-of tortures. Baxter passes on to another story of a mother who gave her child an imp like a mole. He was perhaps a native of Manningtree. in Essex. and see there was no fraud or wrong done them. as he pretends. such as that divine most unquestionably was. and. not far from Framlingham.

had the courage to appear in print on the weaker side. I have known a minister in Suffolk as much against this discovery in a pulpit. and so dragged through a pond or river. of Houghton. doubtless. in consequence. in treating of this mode of trial. If she sank. or is willing to give and allow us good welcome and entertainment. and it will be ten to one but I will come to your town first. I will come to Kimbolton this week. else I shall waive your shire (not as yet beginning in any part of it myself). lie affirms that both practices were then disused.discover the witch's mark. He also practised and stoutly defended the trial by swimming. and betake me to such places where I do and may punish (not only) without control. terrified. through ignorance). the accused was condemned. and no argument. Many clergymen and gentlemen made head against the practices of this cruel oppressor of the defence-less. in order to prevent them from having encouragement from the devil. to put infirm. lays down that. the sooner to hear his singular judgment in the behalf of such parties. but if the body floated (which must have occurred ten times for once. it was received in favour of the accused. God willing. and cowardice:“ My service to your worship presented. Hopkins confesses these last practices of keeping the accused persons waking and forcing them to walk for the same purpose had been originally used by him. so it is just that the element through which the holy rite is enforced should reject them. The boast of the English nation is a manly independence and common-sense. as others where I have been. who. and. in Huntingdonshire. But as his tract is a professed answer to charges of cruelty and oppression. So I humbly take my leave. and rest your . on the principle of King James. I much marvel such evil men should have any (much more any of the clergy. a clergyman. assumed the assurance to write to some functionaries of the place the following letter. which is an admirable medley of impudence. which is a figure of speech. which was supposed to be inflicted by the devil as a sign of his sovereignty. I intend to come. but I would certainly know before whether your town affords many sticklers for such cattle. who should daily speak terror to convince such offenders) stand up to take their parts against such as are complainants for the king. bullying. Gaul. with their families and estates. and that they had not of late been resorted to. and sufferers themselves. and at which she was also said to suckle her imps. and for the same purpose they were dragged about by their keepers till extreme weariness and the pain of blistered feet might form additional inducements to confession. I intend to give your town a visit suddenly. but with thanks and recompense. and Hopkins. and it required courage to do so when such an unscrupulous villain had so much interest. which will not long permit the license of tyranny or oppression on the meanest and most obscure sufferers.-I have this day received a letter to come to a town called Great Houghton to search for evil-disposed person's called witches (though I hear your minister is far against us. if it was placed with care on the surface of the water). as witches have renounced their baptism. Mr. overwatched persons in the next state to absolute madness. It was Hopkins's custom to keep the poor wretches waking. and forced to recant it by the Committee* in the same place. having the great toes and thumbs tied together. when the suspected person was wrapped in a sheet.

dismissed the witchfinders. . one of whom. He showed at the execution considerable energy. upon a stool or table. where he lived about fifty years. “ Having taken the suspected witch. if she submits not. 1596. who quotes a letter from the relict of the humane gentleman. and was probably condemned rather as a royalist and malignant than for any other cause. About the same time a miserable old woman had fallen into the cruel hands of this miscreant near Hoxne. “ was called Nan. and to secure that the funeral service of the church should be said over his body.servant to be commanded. we can conceive him. they say. whence coming and whither bound. they shall within that time see her imp come and suck. for. Lewis. to kill them. Fairclough of Kellar. something to establish that the whole story was not the idle imagination of a man who might have been entirely deranged. they may be sure they are their imps. and if they cannot kill them. comprehending two clergymen in esteem with the leading party. We have seen that in 1647 Hopkins's tone became lowered. Mr. in short. he sunk a vessel. to have indeed become so weary of his life as to acknowledge that. For this Dr. A little hole is likewise made in the door for the imps to come in at. took the woman out of such inhuman bands. and had confessed all the usual enormities. some evidence of a vessel being lost at the period. be defended himself courageously at his trial.” The sensible and courageous Mr. a village in Suffolk. and lest they should come in some less discernible shape. But in another cause a judge would have demanded some proof of the corpus delecti. near Framlington in Suffolk. and after due food and rest the poor old woman could recollect nothing of the confession. she is then bound with cords. she is placed in the middle of a room. Gaul describes the tortures employed by this fellow as equal to any practised in the Inquisition. and if they see any spiders or flies. by means of his imps.” A gentleman in the neighbourhood. “ Her imp. 6th May. whose death is too slightly announced by Mr. they that watch are taught to be ever and anon sweeping the room. John Lewis was presented to the vicarage of Brandiston.” If torture of this kind was applied to the Reverend Mr. he read it aloud for himself while on the road to the gibbet. without any purpose of gratification to be procured to himself by such iniquity. “ Matthew Hopkins. and certainly was so at the time he made the admission. but that she gave a favourite pullet the name of Nan.” she said. after being without food or rest a sufficient time. to which. whose widow survived to authenticate the story. and he began to disavow some of the cruelties he had formerly practised. Hutchison may be referred to. or any man. there she is watched and kept without meat or sleep for four-andtwenty hours. Baxter. In the year 1645 a Commission of Parliament was sent down. cross-legged. or in some other uneasy posture. was so indignant that he went to the house. Notwithstanding the story of his alleged confession. till executed as a wizard on such evidence as we have seen.

for three or four years previous to 1647. and finally combated with and overcome them. and Suffolk.preached before the rest on the subject of witchcraft. under Cromwell. that it contributed to a degree of general toleration which was at that time unknown to any other Christian establishment. But the popular indignation was so strongly excited against Hopkins. it had. And some for putting knavish tricks Upon green geese or turkey chicks. were hang'd for witches. If there had even existed a sect of Manichæans. Norfolk. excluded a legal prosecution of any one of these for heresy or apostasy. who. Fully empower'd to treat about Finding revolted witches out? And has he not within a year Hang'd threescore of them in one shire? Some only for not being drown'd. They disowned even the title of a regular clergy. and room for all possible varieties of doctrine. they attained a supremacy over the Presbyterians. when. And some for sitting above ground Whole days and nights upon their breeches. Who proved himself at length a witch. . who made it their practice to adore the Evil Principle. this inestimable recommendation. though they had originally courted the Presbyterians as the more numerous and prevailing party. fortunately. he stood convicted of witchcraft and so the country was rid of him. had at length shaken themselves loose of that connexion. Whether he was drowned outright or not does not exactly appear. And made a rod for his own breech. to minister to the spiritual necessities of his bearers. as he happened to float. must have received encouragement from some quarter of weight and influence yet it may sound strangely enough that this spirit of lenity should have been the result of the peculiar principles of those sectarians of all denominations. in Essex. Or pigs that suddenly deceased Of griefs unnatural. as had been driven forward by the wretched Hopkins. The Independents were distinguished by the wildest license in their religious tenets. Although such laxity of discipline afforded scope to the wildest enthusiasm. on which. on the other hand. the same sentiment induced them to regard with horror the prosecutions against witchcraft. And feeling pain. it may be doubted whether the other sectaries would have accounted them absolute outcasts from the pale of the church. or who was willing. that some gentlemen seized on him. were disposed to counteract the violence of such proceedings under pretence of witchcraft. and. Thus the Independents. and put him to his own favourite experiment of swimming. but he has had the honour to be commemorated by the author of Hudibras: — “Hath not this present Parliament A leiger to the devil sent. without recompense. mixed with much that was nonsensical and mystical. and allowed the preaching of any one who could draw together a congregation that would support him. The very genius of a religion which admitted of the subdivision of sects ad infinitum . as he guess'd. and after this appearance of enquiry the inquisitions and executions went on as before. classed in general as Independents.” * The understanding reader will easily conceive that this alteration of the current in favour of those who disapproved of witch-prosecutions. who to a certain point had been their allies.

The return of Charles II. to his crown and kingdom, served in some measure to restrain the general and wholesale manner in which the laws against witchcraft had been administered during the warmth of the Civil War. The statute of the 1st of King James, nevertheless, yet subsisted; nor is it in the least likely, considering the character of the prince, that he, to save the lives of a few old men or women, would have ran the risk of incurring the odium of encouraging or sparing a crime still held in horror by a great part of his subjects. The statute, however, was generally administered by wise and skilful judges, and the accused had such a chance of escape as the rigour of the absurd law permitted. Nonsense, it is too obvious, remained in some cases predominant. In the year 1663 an old dame, named Julian Coxe, was convicted chiefly on the evidence of a huntsman, who declared on his oath, that he laid his greyhounds on a hare, and coming up to the spot where he saw them mouth her, there he found, on the other side of a bush, Julian Coxe lying panting and breathless, in such a manner as to convince him that she had been the creature which afforded him the course. The unhappy woman was executed on this evidence. Two years afterwards (1664), it is with regret we must quote the venerable and devout Sir Matthew Hales, as presiding at a trial, in consequence of which Amy Dunny and Rose Callender were hanged at Saint Edmondsbury. But no man, unless very peculiarly circumstanced, can extricate himself from the prejudices of his nation and age. The evidence against the accused was laid, 1st, on the effect of spells used by ignorant persons to counteract the supposed witchcraft; the use of which was, under the statute of James I., as criminal as the act of sorcery which such counter-charms were meant to neutralize. 2ndly, The two old women, refused even the privilege of purchasing some herrings, having expressed themselves with angry impatience, a child of the herringmerchant fell ill in conseqence. 3rdly, A cart was driven against the miserable cottage of Amy Dunny. She scolded, of course; and shortly after the cart — (what a good driver will scarce comprehend) — stuck fast in a gate, where its wheels touched neither of the posts, and yet was moved easily forward on one of the posts (by which it was not impeded) being cut down. 4thly, One of the afflicted girls being closely muffled, went suddenly into a fit upon being touched by one of the supposed witches. But upon another trial it was found that the person so blindfolded fell into the same rage at the touch of an unsuspected person. What perhaps sealed the fate of the accused was the evidence of the celebrated Sir Thomas Browne, “ that the fits were natural, but heightened by the power of the devil co-operating with the malice of witches;” — a strange opinion, certainly, from the author of a treatise on ” Vulgar Errors !”* But the torch of science was now fairly lighted, and gleamed in more than one kingdom of the world, shooting its rays on every side, and catching at all means which were calculated to increase the illumination. The Royal Society, which had taken its rise at Oxford from a private association who met in Dr. Wilkin's chambers about the year 1652, was, the year after the Restoration, incorporated by royal charter, and began to

publish their Transactions, and give a new and more rational character to the pursuits of philosophy. In France, where the mere will of the government could accomplish greater changes, the consequence of an enlarged spirit of scientific discovery was, that a decisive stop was put to the witch-prosecutions which had heretofore been as common in that kingdom as in England. About the year 1672 there was a general arrest of very many shepherds and others in Normandy, and the Parliament of Rouen prepared to proceed in the investigation with the usual severity. But an order, or arret , from the king (Louis XIV.), with advice of his council, commanding all these unfortunate persons to be set at liberty and protected, had the most salutary effects all over the kingdom. The French Academy of Sciences was also founded; and, in imitation, a society of learned Germans established a similar institution at Leipsic. Prejudices, however old, were overawed and controlled — much was accounted for on natural principles that had hitherto been imputed to spiritual agency — everything seemed to promise that farther access to the secrets of nature might be opened to those who should prosecute their studies experimentally and by analysis — and the mass of ancient opinions which overwhelmed the dark subject of which we treat began to be derided and rejected by men of sense and education. In many cases the prey was now snatched from the spoiler. A pragmatical justice of peace in Somersetshire commenced a course of enquiry after offenders against the statute of James I., and had he been allowed to proceed, Mr. Hunt might have gained a name as renowned for witch-finding as that of Mr. Hopkins; but his researches were stopped from higher authority — the lives of the poor people arrested (twelve in number) were saved, and the country remained at quiet, though the supposed witches were suffered to live. The examinations attest some curious particulars, which may be found in Sadducismus Triumphalus : for among the usual string of froward, fanciful, or, as they were called, afflicted children, brought forward to club their startings, starings, and screamings, there appeared also certain remarkable confessions of the accused, from which we learn that the Somerset Satan enlisted his witches, like a wily recruiting sergeant, with one shilling in hand and twelve in promises ; that when the party of weird-sisters passed to the witch-meeting they used the magic words, Thout, tout, throughout, and about ; and that when they departed they exclaimed, Rentum, Tormentum ! We are further informed that his Infernal Highness, on his departure, leaves a smell and that (in nursery-maid's phrase) not a pretty one, behind him. Concerning this fact we have a curious exposition by Mr. Glanville. “ This,” — according to that respectable authority, “ seems to imply the reality of the business, those ascititious particles which he held together in his sensible shape being loosened at the vanishing, and so offending the nostrils by their floating and diffusing themselves in the open air.”* How much are we bound to regret that Mr. Justice Hunt's discovery ” of this hellish kind of witches,” in itself so clear and plain, and containing such valuable information, should have been smothered by meeting with opposition and discouragement from some

then in authority ! Lord Keeper Guildford was also a stifler of the proceedings against witches. Indeed, we may generally remark, during the latter part of the seventeenth century, that where the judges were men of education and courage, sharing in the information of the times, they were careful to check the precipitate ignorance and prejudice of the juries, by giving them a more precise idea of the indifferent value of confessions by the accused themselves, and of testimony derived from the pretended visions of those supposed to be bewitched. Where, on the contrary, judges shared with the vulgar in their ideas of such fascination, or were contented to leave the evidence with the jury, fearful to withstand the general cry too common on such occasions, a verdict of guilty often followed. We are informed by Roger North that a case of this kind happened at the assizes in Exeter, where his brother, the Lord Chief justice, did not interfere with the crown trials, and the other. judge left for execution a poor old woman, condemned, as usual, on her own confession, and on the testimony of a neighbour, who deponed that he saw a cat jump into the accused person's cottage window at twilight, one evening, and that he verily believed the said cat to be the devil; on which precious testimony the poor wretch was accordingly hanged. On another occasion, about the same time, the passions of the great and little vulgar were so much excited by the aquittal of an aged village dame, whom the judge had taken some pains to rescue, that Sir John Long, a man of rank and fortune, came to the judge in the greatest perplexity, requesting that the hag might not be permitted to return to her miserable cottage on his estates, since all his tenants had in that case threatened to leave him. In compassion to a gentleman who apprehended ruin from a cause so whimsical, the dangerous old woman was appointed to be kept by the town where she was acquitted, at the rate of half-a-crown a week, paid by the parish to which she belonged. But behold! in the period betwixt the two assizes Sir John Long and his farmers had mustered courage enough to petition that this witch should be sent back to them in all her terrors, because they could support her among them at a shilling a week cheaper than they were obliged to pay to the town for her maintenance. In a subsequent trial before Lord Chief justice North himself, that judge detected one of those practices which, it is to be feared, were too common at the time, when witnesses found their advantage in feigning themselves bewitched. A woman, supposed to be the victim of the male sorcerer at the bar, vomited pins in quantities, and those straight, differing from the crooked pins usually produced at such times, and less easily concealed in the mouth. The judge, however, discovered, by cross-examining a candid witness, that in counterfeiting her fits of convulsion the woman sunk her head on her breast, so as to take up with her lips the pins which she had placed ready in her stomacher. The man was acquitted, of course. A frightful old hag, who was present, distinguished herself so much by her benedictions on the judge, that he asked the cause of the peculiar interest which she took in the acquittal. “ Twenty years ago,” said the poor woman, “ they would have hanged me for a witch, but could not; and now, but for your lordship, they would have murdered my innocent

so interesting to vulgar credulity. “I have heard from the mouth of both. which the under-keeper confirmed. The experiment was made three times with the same effect. being under an imputation of witchcraft. while country gentlemen. servants. impressed with a conviction of the guilt of some destitute old creatures. for there is an idea that a single pin spoils the operation of the charm.” says Sir John. and Temperance Lloyd were hanged at Exeter for witchcraft. as he thought. like the excellent Sir Roger de Coverley. and. and to conciliate the good-will of her neighbours. her cap torn off. The unfortunate object was tied up in a wet sheet. notwithstanding.son. as usual. by allowing them to duck her. on their own confession. There was one woman.” Even Addison himself ventured no farther in his incredulity respecting this crime than to contend that although witchcraft might and did exist. her body floated. the sentinel upon the jail where she was confined avowed ” that he saw a scroll of paper creep from under the prison-door. sunk down in a deeper shade upon the ignorant and lowest classes of society in proportion as the higher regions were purified from its influence. and then change itself first into a monkey and then into a turkey. who put the hounds at fault and ravaged the fields with hail and hurricanes. This is believed to be the last execution of the kind in England under form of judicial sentence. Mary Trembles. The . there was no such thing as a modern instance competently proved. near Bedford. Sir John Reresby. though her head remained under water. and proceeding upon such evidence as Hopkins would have had recourse to. at once. and now leave it to be believed or disbelieved as the reader may be inclined. her thumbs and great toes were bound together. As late as 1682 three unhappy women named Susan Edwards. on 12th July. This. She was then dragged through the river Ouse by a rope tied round her middle. The parish officers so far consented to their humane experiment as to promise the poor woman a guinea if she should clear herself by sinking. and retainers regarded some old Moll White. very properly. 1707. took the law into their own hands. and all her apparel searched for pins. a statesman and a soldier. ascertained their criminality and administered the deserved punishment. The populace. Unhappily for the poor woman. in their own apprehension. had not as yet ” plucked the old woman out of his heart. Several cases occurred in which the mob. The following instance of such illegal and inhuman proceedings occurred at Oakly. retained a private share in the terror with which their tenants. But the ancient superstition. who. were more enraged against witches when their passions were once excited in proportion to the lenity exercised towards the objects of their indignation by those who administered the laws. like sediment clearing itself from water. We may see that Reresby. upwards of sixty years of age.”\ * Such scenes happened frequently on the assizes. proceeds to tell us that. was desirous to escape from so foul a suspicion. including the ignorant of every class. after an account of a poor woman tried for a witch at York in 1686 and acquitted.

instead of crowding round the gallows as usual. discoverers of stolen goods. seized the accused. as affording countenance for such brutal proceedings. the yet un-abolished statute of James I Accordingly. must outweigh necessarily all the operations or vassals of the devil. understanding that the rabble entertained a purpose of swimming these infirm creatures. and hardly forbore blows. being the work of God himself. the proneness of the people to so cruel and heart-searing a superstition. and. or the like. went among the spectators. however. led to the final abolition of the statute of James I. who resided near Tring. with ineffable brutality. An aged pauper.cry to hang or drown the witch then became general. reserving for such as should pretend to the skill of fortune-tellers. cap. The woman was then weighed against a church Bible of twelve pounds jockey weight. A single humane bystander took her part. A brute in human form. and requested money for the sport he had shown them ! The life of the other victim was with great difficulty saved. They were unable. they said. 5. to death. Only one of them. that odious law. This abominable murder was committed July 30. the rabble. Since that period witchcraft has been little heard of in England. But many of the mob counted her acquittal irregular. by the 9th George II. named Colley. The overseers of the poor. named Osborne. and exposed himself to rough usage for doing so. which they barricaded. Luckily one of the mob themselves at length suggested the additional experiment of weighing the witch against the church Bible. and as she lay half-dead on the bank they loaded the wretch with reproaches. in Staffordshire. and his wife. supporting the proposal by the staggering argument that the Scripture. who had superintended the murder. which had a very different conclusion. the more readily as it promised a new species of amusement. The reasoning was received as conclusive. the punishment of the correctionhouse. Three men were tried for their share in this inhuman action. continued dragging the wretches through a pool of water till the woman lost her life. was traced by the legislature to its source. was abrogated. and would have had the poor dame drowned or hanged on the result of her ducking. endeavoured to oppose their purpose by securing the unhappy couple in the vestry-room. an honest fellow for ridding the parish of an accursed witch. When he came to execution. was dismissed with honour. as due to rogues and vagabonds. At length a similar piece of inhumanity. and although the belief in its existence has in remote places survived the law that recognised the evidence of the crime. was condemned and hanged. The friend of humanity caught at this means of escape. and assigned its punishment — yet such . and all criminal procedure on the subject of sorcery or witchcraft discharged in future through-out Great Britain. so long the object of horror to all ancient and poverty-stricken females in the kingdom. and as she was considerably preponderant. The mob forced the door. 1751 The repetitition of such horrors. stood at a distance. and abused those who were putting. namely. which indeed they had expressed in a sort of proclamation. fell under the suspicion of the mob on account of supposed witchcraft. as the more authentic species of trial. to protect them in the manner they intended.

but it is considered as obsolete. The mother of the laundress. they were not wise according to their zeal. The Irish statute against witchcraft still exists. but is too strong evidence of the imaginary character of this hideous disorder to be altogether suppressed.” from which it appears that as late as the end of last century this brutality was practised. was peopled mainly by emigrants who had been disgusted with the government of Charles I. would now be permitted to lie upon it. previous to the great Civil War. New England. as we have endeavoured to show. but as combined with sorcerers and witches to inflict death and torture upon children and others. and choleric old Irishwoman. not merely as the Evil Principle tempting human nature to sin. and how suddenly and singularly it was cured. even by its own excess. were seized with such strange diseases that all their . The first case which I observe was that of four children of a person called John Goodwin. as it would seem. others. the elder Goodwin. as is well known. a mason. an error to which. Unfortunately. The Calvinists brought with them the same zeal for religion and strict morality which everywhere distinguished them. were Quakers. Nothing occurred in that kingdom which recommended its being formally annulled. her sister and two brothers. If anything were wanted to confirm the general proposition that the epidemic terror of witchcraft increases and becomes general in proportion to the increase of prosecutions against witches. had quarrelled with the laundress of the family about some linen which was amissing. In a country imperfectly cultivated. and that to other dangers and horrors with which they were surrounded.faith is gradually becoming forgotten since the rabble have been deprived of all pretext to awaken it by their own riotous proceedings. their brethren in Europe had from the beginning been peculiarly subject. scolded the accuser. Many of the more wealthy settlers were Presbyterians and Calvinists. fewer in number and less influential from their fortune. an ignorant. Some rare instances have occurred of attempts similar to that for which Colley suffered. though happily without loss of life. Anabaptists. and where the partially improved spots were embosomed in inaccessible forests. Mr. Only a brief account can be here given of the dreadful hallucination under wich colonists of that province were for a time deluded and oppressed by a strange contagious terror. in church and state. inhabited by numerous tribes of savages. The eldest. it was natural that a disposition to superstition should rather gain than lose ground. it is certain. and shortly after. no procedure. testy. and should so wild a thing be attempted in the present day. Hone's ” Popular Amusements. the colonists should have added fears of the devil. or members of the other sects who were included under the general name of Independents. and thus endangering our salvation. it would be sufficient to quote certain extraordinary occurrences in New England. and I observe one is preserved in that curious register of knowledge. but entertained a proneness to believe in supernatural and direct personal intercourse between the devil and his vassals. a girl.

She was therefore supposed to be unable to pronounce the whole consistently and correctly. and accordingly bear in their very front the character of studied and voluntary imposture. whose name was Glover. which gave him greater embarrassment than her former violence. merry as well as melancholy fits. and then. acting. repeated her Pater Noster and Ave Maria like a good Catholic. trotting. she appears to have treated the poor divine with a species of sweetness and attention.” says the simple minister. They conducted themselves as those supposed to suffer under maladies created by such influence were accustomed to do. in which their jaws snapped with the force of a spring-trap set for vermin. and when she was pulled into it by force. but the which possessed her threw her into fits if she attempted to read the same Scriptures from the Bible. but the arrangement of the page. used to become quite well. like a child on the nurse's knee. Their limbs were curiously contorted. mimicked with dexterity and agility the motions of the animal pacing. Amid these distortions. On such occasions she made a spring upwards. and had. She used to break in upon him at his studies to importune him to come downstairs. The afflicted damsel seems to have been somewhat of the humour of the Inamorata of Messrs. They stiffened their necks so hard at one time that the joints could not be moved. under the influence of the devil. who hardly could speak the English language. This singular species of flattery was designed to captivate the clergyman through his professional opinions. and thus advantaged doubtless the kingdom of Satan by the interruption of his pursuits. but when she cantered in this manner upstairs. “ Reasons were given for this. she affected inability to enter the clergyman's study. alleging that she was in presence with them adding to their torments. and the type in which they were printed. read a Quaker treatise with ease and apparent satisfaction. “ that seem more kind than true. as if to mount her horse. others were more strictly personal. and the eldest in particular continued all the external signs of witchcraft and possession. as if the awe which it is supposed the fiends entertain for Holy Writ depended. Some of these were excellently calculated to flatter the self-opinion and prejudices of the Calvinist ministers by whom she was attended. She often imagined that her attendant spirits brought her a handsome pony to ride off with them to their rendezvous. At length the Goodwins were. and to those who had a taste for the marvellous. but a book written against the poor inoffensive Friends the devil would not allow his victim to touch. Catch. and Company. The miserable Irishwoman. But the children of Goodwin found the trade they were engaged in to be too profitable to be laid aside. they cried out against the poor old woman. seemed entirely dislocated and displaced. They had violent convulsions. and condemned and executed accordingly.” Shortly after this. The young woman. like her. Pluck. at another time their necks were so flexible and supple that it seemed the bone was dissolved. still seated on her chair. Smack. and stand up as a rational being.neighbours concluded they were bewitched. or . as was supposed. and galloping. She could look on a Church of England Prayer-book. and read the portions of Scripture which it contains without difficulty or impediment. but there were some words which she had forgotten. not on the meaning of the words.

a daughter and niece of Mr. to discover by whom the fatal charm had been imposed on their master's children. as seems natural enough. These spectres were generally represented as offering their victims a book. their throats choked. servants of the family. At first. in the mortal agony. The judges and juries persevered. who refused to plead. and was accordingly pressed to death according to the old law. cured. as they were termed. The accused were of all ages. and everything rested upon the assumption that the afflicted persons were telling the truth. A poor dog was also hanged as having been alleged to be busy in this infernal persecution. thorns were stuck into their flesh. The dying man. their limbs racked. and pins were ejected from their stomachs. as we have said elsewhere. and hoping they might thus expel from the colony the authors of such practices. that the real persons of the accused were not there present. while several were executed. Eight persons were condemned besides those who had actually suffered. endeavouring. under a conscientious wish to do justly.appeared to be. The afflicted persons failed not to see the spectres. This scene opened by the illness of two girls. when such evidence was admitted as incontrovertible. the poor and miserable alone were involved. which had been the introduction to this tale of a hobby-horse. says Mather. The more that suffered the greater became the number of afflicted persons. the afflicted began to see the spectral appearances of persons of higher condition and of irreproachable lives. became generally fatal. encouraged by the discovery of these poor Indians' guilt. Against this species of evidence no alibi could be offered. drew themselves under suspicion. who fell under an affliction similar to that of the Goodwins. the minister of Salem. Their mouths were stopped. besides a stout-hearted man named Cory. and added his own eloquence to move the afflicted persons to consent. By this means nineteen men and women were executed. Parvis. which must yet be told. On this horrible occasion a circumstance took place disgusting to humanity. but not till many lives had been sacrificed. but the cases of witchcraft and possession increased as if they were transmitted by contagion. by some spell of their own. on signing which they would be freed from their torments. the historian. where they stated it had bitten them. but presently. These gross insults on common reason occasioned a revulsion in public feeling. was to be the forerunner of new atrocities and fearfully more general follies. . and the blood of poor Dame Glover. some of whom were arrested. thrust out his tongue. Sometimes the devil appeared in person. because it was admitted. An Indian and his wife. of the persons by whom they were tormented. some made their escape. and were hanged. to show how superstition can steel the heart of a man against the misery of his fellow-creature. and the same sort of spectral evidence being received which had occasioned the condemnation of the Indian woman Titu. which the sheriff crammed with his cane back again into his mouth. and the wider and the more numerous were the denunciations against supposed witches. who imagined they saw this juvenile wizard active in tormenting them. But the example bad been given and caught. and appealed to the mark of little teeth on their bodies. They acted. A child of five years old was indicted by some of tile afflicted. since their evidence could not be redargued.

Influenced by these reflections.and no less than two hundred were in prison and under examination. men found that no rank or condition could save them from the danger of this horrible accusation if they continued to encourage the witnesses in such an unlimited course as had hitherto been granted to them.”* The prosecutions were therefore suddenly stopped. and the voice of the public. and even those who had confessed. the settlers awoke as from a dream. Even the barbarous Indians were struck with wonder at the . In Mather's own language. and the execution of some made way to the apprehension of others. as was evidently seen. influence of persuasion. the prisoners dismissed. “ experience showed that the more were apprehended the more were still afflicted by Satan. or the generation of the kingdom of God would fall under condemnation. Such of the accused as had confessed the acts of witchcraft imputed to them generally denied and retracted their confessions. to leave his settlement amongst them. a man of the most importance in the colony. Besides. on the other hand. to lament the effusion of blood. This argument was by no means inconsistent with the belief in witchcraft. Men began then to ask whether the devil might not artfully deceive the afflicted into the accusation of good and innocent persons by presenting witches and fiends in the resemblance of blameless persons. observed. had enwrapped innocent persons under the imputation of that crime. and the number of confessions increasing did but increase the number of the accused. For still the afflicted complained of being tormented by new objects as the former were removed. which we use as that of a man deeply convinced of the reality of the crime. the condemned pardoned. or other circumstances exclusive of their free will. the number of whom was very extraordinary. they alleged. and was the more readily listened to on that account. which had so lately demanded vengeance on all who were suspected of sorcery. Several of the judges and jurors concerned in the sentence of those who were executed published their penitence for their rashness in convicting these unfortunate persons. by his wiles. were pardoned amongst others. during the rest of his life. was the person by whom it was most fiercely driven on in the commencement. The accused were generally quiet. under the strong suspicion that part of it at least had been innocently and unjustly sacrificed. Parvis. and one of the judges. there must be a stop put. and for five years there was no such molestation among us. and feared that Satan. and at last. so that some of those that were concerned grew amazed at the number and condition of those that were accused. began now. the anniversary of the first execution as a day of solemn fast and humiliation for his own share in the transaction.” To this it must be added that the congregation of Salem compelled Mr. as engaged in the tormenting of their diseased country-folk. and the author we have just quoted thus records the result : — ” When this prosecution ceased. asserting them to have been made under fear of torture. the Lord so chained up Satan that the afflicted grew presently well. in whose family the disturbance had began and who.

” part ii. Witchfinder. and thinks. and now published by Matthew Hopkins. XIV. 60. as it is different in some respects from that of England. of the ” Family Library” (“ Lives of British Physicians"). * See the account of Sir T. in Inn Lane. 237. p. he admits candidly that it is better to act moderately in matters capital. however.” p. canto 3. and that. edition 1677. in Answer to several Queries lately delivered to the judge of Assize for the County of Norfolk. 162. Browne in No. Lort's sale. 1647.” p. p. and to avoid future annoyance and persecution — Examination by Pricking — The Mode of judicial Procedure against Witches. must next claim our attention. and was prosecuted with much more severity.” * Of Parliament. on the whole. * Mather's “Magnalia.” The system of witchcraft. The zealous author. among whom. * “Hudibras. the matter was ended too abruptly. and Rites performed to accomplish their purpose — Trial of Margaret Barclay in 1618 — Case of Major Weir — Sir John Clerk among the first who declined acting as Commissioner on the Trial of a Witch — Paisley and Pittenweem Witches — A Prosecution in Caithness prevented by the Interference of the King's Advocate in 1718 — The Last Sentence of Death for Witchcraft . Scottish Trials — Earl of Mar — Lady Glammis — William Barton — Witches of Auldearne — Their Rites and Charms — Their Transformation into Hares — Satan's Severity towards them — Their Crimes — Sir George Mackenzie's Opinion of Witchcraft — Instances of Confessions made by the Accused. 278. Its full title is. for the Benefit of the whole Kingdom. * Hutchison on Witchcraft. and is now in the author's possession. to encourage Witch — Prosecutions — Case of Bessie Graham — Supposed Conspiracy to Shipwreck James in his Voyage to Denmark — Meetings of the Witches. as believed in Scotland. the temper of the times considered. Bindley. and nature of the Evidence admissible. But. Royston. had the times been calm. regrets the general gaol-delivery on the score of sorcery. like their Sovereign. at the Angel.” “Memoirs of Sir John Reresby. as they remarked. * Glanville's ” Collection of Relations. * Hutchison's “Essay on Witchcraft. which was bought at Mr. the case might have required a farther investigation.” book vi. 166. “ the Great Spirit sends no witches. and drew disadvantageous comparisons between them and the French. * This reproach is noticed in a very rare tract. “ The Discovery of Witches.'s time led them. than run the risk of destroying the innocent.” * Roger North's “Life of Lord-Keeper Guilford.infatuation of the English colonists on this occasion. by the celebrated collector Mr. and left the Accused no chance of escape — The Superstition of the Scottish Clergy in King James VI. LETTER IX. chap. and to let the guilty escape. and subsisted to a later period. lxxxii. Printed for R. opened a door to Accusers. in despair. *Webster on Witchcraft. p.

though Shakspeare a stamped the latter character indelibly upon them. drives a very hard bargain. and. were sometimes of a peculiar character. he brought his gallant. was the bead. In the year 1537 a noble matron fell a victim to a similar charge. with her son. brother of James III. with a view to the restoration of the Douglas family. who seem to have thought the articles against her forged for the purpose of taking her life. She died much pitied by the people. having commonly to do with women. still more. or warlocks. who. cases of the kind occurred very often in Scotland. of which Lady Glammis's brother. related from the Author's own knowledge. The Earl of Mar. One of the earliest real cases of importance founded upon witchcraft was. stood accused of attempting James's life by poison. immediately after which catastrophe twelve women of obscure rank and three or four wizards. a fortune of no less than fifteen pounds. rather than the sorcery. fell under the king's suspicion for consulting wit witches and sorcerers how to shorten the king's days. very inexplicitly stated. which took place so late as 1800. whether he died by the agency of a gang of witches. In the tale of Macbeth. FOR many years the Scottish nation had been remarkable for a credulous belief in witchcraft. On the contrary. when such charges grew general over Europe. the unhappy Mar was bled to death in his own lodgings without either trial or conviction. or sibyls. On such a charge. indeed. and are described as volæ . rather than as witches. The vassals are usually induced to sell themselves at a small price to the Author of Ill. the weird-sisters. This was Janet Douglas. for the sake of compassing his death. which. Previous to this lady's execution there would appear to have been but few prosecuted to death on the score of witchcraft. when he was pleased to enact the female on a similar occasion. her second husband. a certain monotony in most tales of the kind. even supposing it to . But in the end of the fifteenth and beginning of the sixteenth centuries. who inflicted torments upon an image made in his name. like those of the Duchess of Gloucester and others in the sister country.pronounced in Scotland in 1722 — Remains of the Witch Superstition — Case of supposed Witchcraft. her kindred and very name being so obnoxious to the King. and several others. brought the culprits to their fate. the Earl of Angus. as we have already noticed. and. which. of Scotland. Lady Glammis. were burnt at Edinburgh. who. and repeated examples were supplied by the annals of sanguinary executions on this sad accusation. one William Barton. which is another early instance of Demonology in Scottish history. although the want of the justiciary records of that period leaves us in uncertainty. There is. mingled with an accusation of political nature. who were the original prophetesses. as they were termed. to give a colour to the Earl's guilt. Our acquaintance with the slender foundation on which Boetius and Buchanan reared the early part of their histories may greatly incline us to doubt whether a king named Duffus ever reigned in Scotland. appeared to the usurper in a dream.

The witches of Auldearne. In our lord the Devil's name. was a very liberal endowment compared with his niggardly conduct towards the fair sex on such an occasion. The first hands that handle thee. and add some more fanciful circumstances than occur in the general case. They entered the house of the Earl of Murray himself. like Tam o'Shanter's Nannie. and some part of it at least may be quoted. I look upon this as one of the most severe reflections on our forefathers' poverty which is extant. they made a pretence of ploughing it with a yoke of paddocks. With the sheep and nolt into the fauld. or covines . But some of the confessions depart from the monotony of repetition. and leave the proprietors nothing but thistles and briars. and was usually. on the contrary. very common among them. as there are other passages not very edifying. In many of the Scottish witches' trials. Of all the rest of the little store!” Metamorphoses were. as to the description of Satan's Domdaniel. saying or singing — “We put this intill this hame. Master George Sinclair observes that it is fortunate the Enemy is but seldom permitted to bribe so high (as £15 Scots). that they were told off into squads. according to this penitent. and the Sabbath which he there celebrates. the sock and coulter were made out of a riglen's horn.have been the Scottish denomination. the reader may be desirous to bear some of their spells. already mentioned. he might find few men or women capable of resisting his munificence. were so numerous. praying the devil to transfer to them the fruit of the ground so traversed. One of these was called the Maiden of the Covine. These foul creatures drew the plough. and possessed themselves of the carcases (of unchristened infants in particular). When they desired to secure for their own use the crop of some neighbour. Burn'd and scalded may they be! We will destroy houses and hald. and place it in the house of those whom they devoted to destruction in body or goods. is extremely minute. who felt themselves insulted by the preference. to keep the fifteen pounds whole. And little sall come to the fore. The plough-harness and soams were of quicken grass. which greatly provoked the spite of the old bags. with their elfin archery. which was held by the devil himself. of coin. and feasted on the provisions they found there. As these witches were the countrywomen of the weird sisters in Macbeth. In observing on Satan's conduct in this matter.* When assembled. as they were termed. and treated with particular attention. I have already noticed (page 136). and such other mansions as were not fenced against them by vigil and prayer. they dug up graves. and of the poetry by which they were accompanied and enforced. to each of which were appointed two officers. Neither did he pass false coin on this occasion. mixed with that of dogs and sheep. Isobel Gowdie's confession. a girl of personal attractions. and the covine attended on the operation. whom Satan placed beside himself. and the forms of . the northern superstition agrees with that of England. according to Isobel. for were this the case. The witches' sports. but. They used to bash the flesh of an unchristened child. whose joints and members they used in their magic unguents and salves. generously gave Burton a merk.

saying. but being hard pressed. Margaret Wilson. She had been sent by the devil to Auldearne in that favourite disguise.” But the hounds came in and took the other side of the chest. and entreaties for mercy. with some message to her neighbours. News. irreverently spoke of their sovereign by the name of Black John. cries. upon such occasions the Fiend rushed on them like a schoolmaster who surprises his pupils in delict. and beat and buffeted them without mercy or discretion. and yellow. after the old Scottish manner. and Rorie. which were sad-dun. being weak and simple. and . the door being open. and the witches were sometimes bitten by the dogs. could never defend himself save with tears. Alexander Elder. These were Robert the Jakis. in Earlseat. Bessie Wilson could also speak very crustily with her tongue. an old Scandinavian Duerg probably. was forced to take to my own house. Sack-and-Sugar. Wait-upon-Herself. would ” defend herself finely. are better imagined at least than those which Hopkins contrived for the imps which he discovered — such as Pyewacket. There were attendant devils and imps. in Auldearne. and ” belled the cat” with the devil stoutly. odd and uncouth enough. and. hare. and there took refuge behind a chest. and other animals. having his hounds with them. and gaining time to say the disenchanting rhyme: — “Hare. God send thee care!” Such accidents. but some of the women. Robert the Rule. “ run a very long time. some of which might belong to humanity. The Foul Fiend was very rigid in exacting the most ceremonious attention from his votaries. God send thee care ! I am in a hare's likeness now. she said. The witches were taught to call these imps by names. were not uncommon. The others chiefly took refuge in crying “Pity ! mercy !” and such like. but had the misfortune to meet Peter Papley of Killhill's servants going to labour. who served the witches. had more of the spirit which animated the old dame of Kellyburn Braes. so that Isobel only escaped by getting into another house. In the hare shape Isobel herself had a bad adventure. often fell under his lord's displeasure for neglect of duty.” Then might be seen the various tempers of those whom he commanded. while Satan kept beating them with wool cards and other sharp scourges. These names. Peck-in-the-Crown.” says Isobel. cats. and the title of Lord when addressed by them.” and make her hands save her head. grass-green. Thomas the Feary. MacKeeler. according to Isobel Gowdie's confession. of which the marks remained after their restoration to human shape. “ I ken weel eneugh what you are saying of me. Vinegar-Tom. without attending to their entreaties or complaints. hare. Swein. Thief of Hell. were on such occasions assumed. Sometimes. But none had been killed on such occasions. the Roaring Lion. while others had a diabolical sound. seagreen. But I shall be a woman even now — Hare. The hounds sprung on the disguised witch. hares. Saunders the Red Reaver. the weird sisters. Hendrie Craig.crows. “ and I. when whispering amongst themselves. The ceremonial of the Sabbath meetings was very strict. They were usually distinguished by their liveries. however.

I presume) to wasting illness. for which she thanks God in her confession. of examination. clergymen.” says she. the broad vulgarity of which epithets shows what a flat imagination he brought to support his impudent fictions. it would seem.Grizell Greedigut. being fond of mimicking the forms of the Christian church. but rather to be stretched on an iron rack: nor can my crimes be atoned for. to. “ to be seated here at ease and unharmed. made voluntarily. Like any stikkle § in a kiln. and without compulsion of any kind. “ I do not deserve. her compeer. Elspet Nishe's was Bessie Bald. Bessie Hay's nickname was Able-and-Stout. judicially authenticated by the subscription of the notary. and in his own great name. as we have seen. We put it in into the fire. as already mentioned. The devil. because they had omitted to bless themselves as the aerial flight of the hags swept past them. and Jane Mairten. an excuse which was never admitted as relevant. Whatever might be her state of mind in other respects. placing at the same time in the fire figures composed of clay mixed with paste. To burn them up stook and stour. was called Pickle-nearest-the-Wind. . which a full perusal of her confession might. the death of sundry persons shot with elf-arrows. perhaps guide a medical person of judgement and experience.” Such was the singular confession of Isobel Gowdie. and gentlemen present. who commanded the fair sisterhood. were I to be drawn asunder by wild horses. have operated on Isobel Gowdie. perhaps. to represent the object: — ” We put this water amongst this meal. Some. even from Satan himself.” It only remains to suppose that this wretched creature was under the dominion of some peculiar species of lunacy. the Maiden of the Covine. was Throw-the-Cornyard. and adds. she seems to have been perfectly conscious of the perilous consequence of her disclosures to her own person. For long dwining and ill heal. was called Ower-the-Dike-with-it. That they be burned with our will. Her case is interesting. and imputed to her sisters. Bessie Wilson. Other unfortunate persons were betrayed to their own reproof by other means than the derangement of mind which seems to. endeavoured to escape from the charge of witchcraft by admitting an intercourse with the fairy people. but missed him through the influence of the running stream. and containing no variety or contradiction in its details. They devoted the male children of this gentleman (of the well-known family of Gordon of Park. by the following lines. used to rebaptize the witches with their blood. as throwing upon the rites and ceremonies of the Scottish witches a light which we seek in vain elsewhere. who scorned to take a blow unrepaid. adhered to after their separate diets. that at the time she received a great cuff from Bessie Hay for her awkwardness. The proud-stomached Margaret Wilson. Isobel took upon herself. as they are called.* She had herself the temerity to shoot at the Laird of Park as he was riding through a ford.

if a woman might be a witch and not know it? And it is dangerous that persons. that she had not confest because she was guilty. was of opinion that. and when men are confounded with fear and apprehension. in his capacity of Lord Advocate. and who. told me under secresie. that hardly wiser and more serious people than they would escape distraction. however painful. the actors being the only witnesses. “ ex certissima scientia . But. One. He first insists on the great improbability of the fiend. on account of its very horror. as that which did at first elicit the confession. of all others the most simple. and that all men would beat her and . and suspicion. “ Most of these poor creatures are tortured by their keepers. misery. think it their duty to vex and torment poor prisoners delivered up to them as rebels to heaven and enemies to men. and one of them. “ I went when I was a justice-deput to examine some women who had confessed judicially. who asked seriously. but which far more frequently compelled the innocent to bear evidence against themselves.” 5thly.' Another. but being a poor creature who wrought for her meat. who understand not the nature of what they are accused of. should be tried for a crime of all others the most mysterious. or else women. and so starved for want of meat and drink.Others were subjected to cruel tortures. of which I shall give two instances.” as he is termed by Dryden. 4thly. when they are defamed. “ that noble wit of Scotland. was a silly creature. and for fear of which they dare not retract it. that most of all that ever were. and albeit the poor miscreants cannot prove this usage. and I know” (continues Sir George). who. says Mackenzie. after he had confessed witchcraft. become so confounded with fear and the close prison in which they are kept. On this subject the celebrated Sir George Mackenzie. such as any person of reputation would willingly exchange for a short death. and many mistake their own fears and apprehensions for witchcraft. These poor creatures. being able to enlist such numbers of recruits. by which our ancestors thought the guilty might be brought to confession. and being defamed for a witch. and this usage was the ground of all their confession. for no person thereafter would either give her meat or lodging. and which was sure to follow. without riches to bestow. “ the persons ordinarily accused of this crime are poor ignorant men. of a poor weaver who. taken were tormented in this manner. has some most judicious reflections which we shall endeavour to abstract as the result of the experience of one who. when she was accused. being persuaded they do God good service. yet the judge should be jealous of it. ' Like flies dancing about the candle. who. had often occasion to conduct witch-trials. condemning them for life to a state of necessity. they will imagine things the most ridiculous and absurd ” of which instances are given. she knew she would starve. either of which wants is enough to disarm the strongest reason. 3rdly. and the little advantage which he himself would gain by doing so. of a woman. This learned author gives us an instance how these unfortunate creatures might be reduced to confession by the very infamy which the accusation cast upon them. made answer. 2dly. and avowedly subjected to a higher power. it required the clearest and most strict probation. not doubting the existence of the crime. being asked how he saw the devil.

”* As a corollary to this affecting story. who lay there with other females on a charge of witchcraft. as well as others. Yet she stiffly adhered to what she had said. being called before the judges. and then perceiving that there remained no more but to rise and go to the stake. to destroy both her soul and body. I take it wholly upon myself — my blood be upon my own head. through the temptation of the devil I made up that confession on purpose to destroy my own life. The clergyman. and she too had. she was found guilty and condemned to die with the rest that same clay. when he was desiring her to confess. and choosing rather to die than live. after she was said to be his servant. and I free all men especially the ministers and magistrates. These things to be of truth. as it did then astonish all the spectators. And really ministers are oft times indiscreet in their zeal to have poor creatures to confess in this. We give the result in the minister's words: — “ Therefore much pains was taken on her by ministers and others on Saturday.'-and so died. that she might resile from that confession which was suspected to be but a temptation of the devil. and entreated to be put to death with the others who bad been appointed to suffer upon the next Monday. that there was just ground of jealousy that her confession was not sincere. Being carried forth to the place of execution. whereupon she wept most bitterly. and some others to despair.hound dogs at her. of the guilt of my blood. are attested by an eye and ear witness who is yet alive. and put in prison under the name of a witch. Another told me that she was afraid the devil would challenge a right to her. and would haunt her. or ever coming in credit again. partly by tempting many to presumption. know that I am now to die as a witch by my own confession. none of which could restrain themselves from tears . she lifted tip her body. Whereupon. Her companions in prison were adjudged to die. and third prayer. yea. and confessing before them what she had said. and therefore she desired to die. disowned by my husband and friends. and I recommend to judges that the wisest ministers should be sent to them. I may quote the case of a woman in Lauder jail. and Monday morning. but being delated by a malicious woman. 'Now all you that see me this day. and with a loud voice cried out. and those who are sent should be cautious in this particular. She therefore sent for the minister of the town. so it may be to all a demonstration of Satan's subtlety. it was charged home upon her by the ministers. and as I must make answer to the God of Heaven presently. by a confession as full as theirs. and had no foundation in truth. on Monday morning. she remained silent during the first. being weary of it. second. and that therefore she desired to be out of the world. and cried always to be put away with the rest. whose design is stilt to destroy all. for the destruction of her own life. a faithful minister of the . given herself up as guilty. and not to take her blood upon her own head. and upon her knees called God to witness to what she said. Which lamentable story. Sunday. however. and she was charged before the Lord to declare the truth. had adopted a strong persuasion that this confession was made up in the pride of her heart. as the minister said. I declare I am as free of witchcraft as any child. and seeing no ground of hope of my coming out of prison.

indecent. on pretence of discovering the devil's stigma. and the proneness to persecute those accused of such practices in Scotland. which was said to be inflicted by him upon all his vassals. and the young witchfinder was allowed to torture the accused party. wherein the confessions of the accused constituted the principal if not sole evidence of the guilt. the accused suffered the . ” who found two marks of what he called the devil's making. and a slight wound. that at the trial of Janet Peaston of Dalkeith the magistrates and ministers of that market town caused John Kincaid of Tranent.gospel. in fact. and to be insensible to pain. the common pricker. as if in exercise of a lawful calling. nor did they (the marks) bleed when they were taken out again. The Supreme Court of Justiciary was that in which the cause properly and exclusively ought to have been tried. the smallest and most ignorant baron of a rude territory. in practice. and treated the pricker as a common cheat. imprison. to exercise his craft upon her. we might recollect that in so terrible an agony of shame as is likely to convulse a human being under such a trial. she pointed to a part of her body distant from the real place. and that which appeared to enter the body did not pierce it at all. which was hollow for the purpose. took it on him to arrest. may be inflicted without being followed by blood. Pitcairn. the practice of the infamous Hopkins. and which appeared indeed to be so. But. that as one woman out of very despair renounced her own life. and examine. beyond their jurisdiction. to draw forth confession. Fountainhall has recorded that in 1678 the Privy Council received the complaint of a poor woman who had been abused by a country magistrate and one of those impostors called prickers. for she could not feel the pin when it was put into either of the said marks. They were pins of three inches in length. as with a pin. were it worth while to dwell on a subject so ridiculous. and when she was asked where she thought the pins were put in. were increased by the too great readiness of subordinate judges to interfere in matters which were. the same might have been the case in many other instances. sheathed in the upper. there is also room to believe that the professed prickers used a pin the point or lower part of which was.” Besides the fact that the persons of old people especially sometimes contain spots void of sensibility. One celebrated mode of detecting witches and torturing them at the same time. This species of search.” * It is strange the inference does not seem to have been deduced. and brutal practice began to be called by its right name. But. and such personal insults. burgh. was by running pins into their body. the pettiest bailie in the most trifling. the blood is apt to return to the heart.* From this and other instances it appears that the predominance of the superstition of witchcraft. or mark. although Sir George Mackenzie stigmatises it as a horrid imposture. in which examinations. as we have already seen. was in Scotland reduced to a trade. on being pressed down. I observe in the Collections of Mr. In the latter end of the seventeenth century this childish. each inferior judge in the country. They expressed high displeasure against the presumption of the parties complained against.

though it might be attributed to the most natural course of events. which. was supposed necessarily to be in consequence of the menaces of the accused. There is some ground to hope that this extraordinary evidence was not admitted upon the trial. who probably saw his courage was not entirely constant. while the miserable prisoner was blown into a pool of water. lost an opportunity of destroying a witch. uttered by the supposed witch. Thus no creature was secure against the malice or folly of some defamatory accusation. Now. “ Sandie. the devil appeared to him in shape of a grave “ Mediciner. secondly. though the menaces had not come from the accused party herself. as it is well known that such a commission could not be granted in a case of murder in the county where the crime was charged. that is to say. Neither must it be forgotten that the proof led in support of the prosecution was of a kind very unusual in jurisprudence. there seems no good reason why the trial of witches. was cleaning his gun. to be freed from general prejudice. and curing the diseases of man and beast by spells and charms. and with difficulty raised again. But.” addressing him thus roundly. on a green hill-side. There is a story told of an old wizard. and take her from you on the road tomorrow ?” Sure enough. if there was a timid or superstitious judge. were all that were transmitted to the Privy Council. so liable to excite the passions. and particularly of the clergymen. by acquitting the persons brought before them. or wish of revenge. and it was the consequence that such commissioners very seldom. as John Stewart. though he was more generally known by the nickname of Hatteraick. made up of extorted confessions. following close upon a threat. The copies of these examinations. you have too long followed my trade without . he was slyly questioned by Janet Cocke. which it had pleased the devil to confer upon him. Sometimes this vague species of evidence loosely adduced.grossest injustice. another confessing witch. one of a party of stout burghers of Dalkeith appointed to guard an old woman called Christian Wilson from that town to Niddrie. The lawyers admitted as evidence what they called damnumm minatum . “ What would you think if the devil raise a whirlwind. But our ancestors arranged it otherwise. on their journey to Niddrie the party actually were assailed by a sudden gust of wind (not a very uncommon event in that climate). et malum secutum — mischief. though not likely. should not have been uniformly tried by a court whose rank and condition secured them from the suspicion of partiality. who were to direct the future mode of procedure. to be found within the district. 1661. which scarce permitted the valiant guard to keep their feet. it was the course of the Privy Council to appoint commissions of the gentlemen of the country. or the evidence of inhabile witnesses. though of the meanest denomination. The man had for some time adopted the credit of being a conjurer. whose real name was Alexander Hunter. and allegations of danger threatened and mischief ensuing were admitted. and peculiarly liable to be affected by the clamour of the neighbourhood againt the delinquent. One summer's day. On Ith June. from their education.

giving the rogue fair words. After that this warlock had abused the country for a long time. ' But I must first. he met with some persons there that begat a dreadful consternation in him.' When he had come to her. What pranks he played with it cannot be known. ' what is this you have done to my brother William ?' ' I told him.” * Now. switcht him about the ears. the Lady Samuelston. through a dark shady place. and was overheard to say. was heard say. and I will teach you your trade better. The young gentleman conveyed his friends a far way off. taking his horse and crossing Tyne water to go home. ' You shall dear buy this ere it be long. George Sinclair tell the rest of e tale. what have you to do here ?' Whereupon the fellow goes away grumbling. and promising him his pockful of meal with beef and cheese. “After this he grew very famous through the country for is charming and curing of diseases in men and beasts. which was soon gotten. and money by his charms. and the evening being somewhat dark. but within a short while the gentleman recovered his health. caused the brother to make a disposition to her of all his patrimony. You must now enlist with me and become my servant. if Hatteraick was really put to death on such evidence.' She. The next day he became distracted. When Hatteraic came to receive his wages he told the lady. After supper. and probably in liquor. seeing him. ' Your brother William shall quickly go off the country. tell what. His sister employs the wizard to take off the spell according to his . persuaded the fellow to cure him again He undertook the business. One day he came to the yait (gate) of Samuelston. brother to the lady. hearing of it. A young gentleman. The beggar grumbles. such was the ignorance of any at that time. This was malum secutum . where he supped. to the defrauding of his younger brother. ' Surely that knave Hatteraick is the cause of his trouble. and probably could not. ' I should make him repent of his striking me at the yait lately.' She. he would not. call for him in all haste. and flesh.' says he. and burnt upon the Castlehill. commonly called Allers. When he came home the servants observed terror and fear in his countenance. ' Sandie. and came home that way again.' says she. Whatever house he came to none durst refuse Hatteraick an alms. which for the most part he would never reveal. Mr. saying — ' You warlock carle.' says he ' have one of his sarks' (shirts). as any man would. and was bound for several days.acknowledging me for a master. A hot-tempered swaggering young gentleman horsewhips a beggar of ill fame for loitering about the gate of his sister's house. is frightened by. and we shall let the Rev. it is worth while to consider what was its real amount.” Hatteraick consented to the proposal. and has a fever fit. His sister. he was at last apprehended at Dunbar. riding in the night.* gaining meal. George.' This was damnum minatum . The young man. rather for his ill than his good. knowing the fellow's prophecies to hold true. and brought into Edinburgh. but shall never return. he rides through a shady piece of a haugh. when some friends after dinner were going to horse. and turned a vagrant fellow like a jockie.

et malum secutum . as they conceived themselves. in a general sense true. since nothing can happen without the foreknowledge and will of Heaven. and the selfish Lady Samuelston. in the lady's opinion. especially called to the service of heaven. a poor girl was to die for witchcraft. approached to years of discretion. In one case. among better things. we return to the general history of the trials recorded from the reign of James V. Through the reign of Queen Mary these trials for sorcery became numerous. and that the great Creator is content to execute his purposes by the operation of those laws which influence the general course of nature. We have already said that these venerable persons entertained. the arrival of a skilful farrier was accounted a special providence to defeat the purpose of Satan. by the snares and . And amongst those natural feelings. an unhesitating belief in what were called by them ” special providences. to the union of the kingdoms. at least. The sovereign had exhausted his talents of investigation on the subject of witchcraft. others of a less pardonable description found means to shelter themselves. we are informed by Mackenzie. of the attention of the laird. of whom the real crime was that she had attracted too great a share. since. to which the parties accused of this crime in Scotland were necessarily exposed. and credit was given to all who acted in defence of the opinions of the reigning prince. committed a fraud which ought to have rendered her evidence inadmissible. They applied these principles of belief to the meanest causes. drew still larger attention to the subject. their situation was rendered intolerable by the detestation in which they were held by all ranks. Our ancient Scottish divines thought otherwise. the grossly superstitious vulgar abhorred them with still more perfect dread and loathing. but we are authorized to believe that the period of supernatural interference has long passed away. and all legal cause for burning a man to ashes ! The vagrant Hatteraick probably knew something of the wild young man which might soon oblige him to leave the country. and here is damnum minatum . Besides these particular disadvantages. But when James VI. by their credulity as to the actual interference of evil spirits in the affairs of this world. This natural tendency to comply with the opinions of the sovereign was much augmented by the disposition of the Kirk to the same sentiments. the general erroneous belief respecting witchcraft — regarding it indeed as a crime which affected their own order more nearly than others in the state. This was doubtless. Having thus given some reasons why the prosecutions for witchcraft in Scotland were so numerous and fatal. A horse falling lame was a snare of the devil to keep the good clergyman from preaching. The gentry hated them because the diseases and death of their relations and children were often imputed to them. The works which remain behind them show. with good faith.profession. they were peculiarly bound to oppose the incursions of Satan. Surrounded. and the crime was subjected to heavier punishment by the 73rd Act of her 9th Parliament. the extreme anxiety which he displayed to penetrate more deeply into mysteries which others had regarded as a very millstone of obscurity. both in relation to the judicature by which they were tried and the evidence upon which they were convicted.” and this was equalled. learning the probability of his departure.

” This. though she died obstinate. a fellow named Begg was employed as a skilful pricker. to urge her to confession. and relying on the aid of Heaven. which he affirmed to be the devil's mark. suspected of witchcraft. But as Alexander Simpson pretended to understand the sense of what was said within the cell. A commission was granted for trial. but still the chief gentlemen in the county refused to act. especially as he doubted whether a civil court would send her to an assize. as melancholy and despairing wretches are in the habit of doing. Although the ministers. and the minister himself was pretty sure he heard two voices at the same time. he would acknowledge it as a singular favour and mercy. We have already seen that even the conviction that a woman was innocent of the crime of witchcraft did not induce a worthy clergyman to use any effort to withdraw her from the stake. with Alexander Simpson. whom they had left alone in her place of confinement. as the crusaders of old invaded the land of Palestine. and his own servant. but in vain. But for this discovery we should have been of opinion that Bessie Grahame talked to herself. nay. The whole detail is a curious illustration of the spirit of credulity which welldisposed men brought with them to such investigations. after various conferences. whose opinions were but two strongly on this head in correspondence with the prevailing superstitious of the people. since the minister. the kirk-officer. which he regarded as an answer to his prayer. under suspicions of no great weight. nourished in the early system of church government a considerable desire to secure their own immunities and . was accomplished in the following manner. which the minister instantly recognised as the Foul Fiend's voice.temptations of hell. in respect of the strong delusion under which they laboured. according to his idea. acquitting her judges and jury of her blood. with the same confidence in the justice of their cause and similar indifference concerning the feelings of those whom they accounted the enemies of God and man. found her defence so successful. and would not confess. Bessie Grahame had been committed. and in the same collection * there occur some observable passages of God's providence to a godly minister in giving him ” full clearness” concerning Bessie Grahame. he thrust a great brass pin up to the head in a wart on the woman's back. made a most decent and Christian end. and thenceforth was troubled with no doubts either as to the reasonableness and propriety of his prayer. This put the worthy man upon a solemn prayer to God. they heard the prisoner. One evening the clergyman. who used a low and ghostly tone. discoursing with another person. they entered into war with the kingdom of Satan. by whose authority it is not said. and how easily the gravest doubts were removed rather than a witch should be left undetected. While the minister was in this doubt. that he actually pitied her hard usage. As they stood on the stair-head behind the door. it would seem. or the guilt of Bessie Grahame. “ that if he would find out a way for giving the minister full clearness of her guilt. had visited Bessie in her cell. and wished for her delivery from prison. he regarded the overhearing this conversation as the answer of the Deity to his petition. or whether an assize would be disposed to convict her. and the clergyman's own doubts were far from being removed.

and there seldom wanted some such confession as we have often mentioned. On the other hand. was in his personal qualities rather acceptable to the clergy of his kingdom and period. The clergy considered that the Roman Catholics. but to the malevolent purpose of hell itself. The principal person implicated in these heretical and treasonable undertakings was one Agnes Simpson. James was self-gratified by the unusual spirit which he had displayed on his voyage in quest of his bride. At his departing from Scotland on his romantic expedition to bring home a consort from Denmark. The execution of witches became for these reasons very common in Scotland. he very politically recommended to the clergy to contribute all that lay in their power to assist the civil magistrates. which in their opinion were mutually associated together. and as the witches tried were personally as insignificant as the charge itself was odious. and he very naturally believed that the prince of the power of the air had been personally active on the occasion. James.privileges as a national church. During the halcyon period of union between kirk and king their hearty agreement on the subject of witchcraft failed not to beat the fires against the persons suspected of such iniquity. and natural allies in the great cause of mischief. their principal enemies. not only to the indirect policy of Elizabeth. His fleet had been tempest-tost. the pedantic sovereign having exercised his learning and ingenuity in the Demonologia. yet in the earlier part of his reign. and preserve the public peace of the kingdom. considered the execution of every witch who was burnt as a necessary conclusion of his own royal syllogisms. and well disposed to fancy that he had performed it in positive opposition. Earl of Arran. The juries were also afraid of the consequences of acquittal to themselves. and the clergy esteemed themselves such from the very nature of their profession. it could not be doubted. on account of his match with Anne of Denmark — the union of a Protestant princess with a Protestant prince. or Samson. and described by Archbishop . the mass. an event which struck the whole kingdom of darkness with alarm. to salve their consciences and reconcile them to bring in a verdict of guilty. when the clergy were in a great measure intrusted with the charge of the public government. But the general spite of Satan and his adherents was supposed to be especially directed against James. being liable to suffer under an assize of error should they be thought to have been unjustly merciful. and the witches. where the king seemed in some measure to have made himself a party in the cause. when freed from the influence of such a favourite as the profligate Stuart. the King of Scotland and heir of England being. which failed not at last to be brought into contact with the king's prerogative. there was no restraint whatever upon those in whose hands their fate lay. The king after his return acknowledged with many thanks the care which the clergy had bestowed in this particular. called the Wise Wife of Keith. were equally devoted to the devil. for they often reminded him in their future discords that his kingdom had never been so quiet as during his voyage to Denmark. or such evidence as that collected by the minister who overheard the dialogue between the witch and her master. Nor were they slack in assuming the merit to themselves.

and a person infinitely above the rank of the obscure witches with whom she was joined in her crime. from the terms of her indictment. “ God bless the king !” When the monarch of Scotland sprung this strong covey of his favourite game. a person of some rank. This woman was principally engaged in an extensive conspiracy to destroy the fleet of the queen by raising a tempest. she gave her opinion that nothing could amend her unless the devil was raised. called as his nickname Graymeal. a very active witch.Spottiswood. Neither did she always keep the right and sheltered side of the law in such delicate operations. seems to have been a kind of white witch. and to take the king's life by anointing his linen with poisonous materials. and at the same time establishes that the Wise Woman of Keith knew how to turn her profession to account. The third person in this singular league of sorcerers was Doctor John Fian. and the patient died. after being an hour tortured by the . and by one means or other. and doorkeeper to the conclave. and by constructing figures of clay. a silly old ploughman. who was cuffed by the devil for saying simply. One article of her indictment proves this. being consulted in the illness of Isobel Hamilton. the widow of a Senator of the College of justice. the grave matron before mentioned. in an account of it published at London. Mr. and enjoyed much hazardous reputation as a warlock. for. This was Dame Euphane MacCalzean. without adding to them the story of a philtre being applied to a cow's hair instead of that of the young woman for whom it was designed.” which has been lately reprinted by the Roxburghe Club. Amongst her associates was an unhappy lady of much higher degree. Agnes Sampson. It is remarkable that the Scottish witchcrafts were not thought sufficiently horrible by the editor of this tract. This grave dame. alias Douglas. they afforded the Privy Council and him sport for the greatest part of the remaining winter. to be wasted and tormented after the usual fashion of necromancy. Geillis Duncan. would not bestow the necessary expenses. This man was made the hero of the whole tale of necromancy. composed and deliberate in her answers. and entitled. which were all to some purpose. they were indifferently well dressed to his palate. not as one of the base or ignorant class of ordinary witches. who was schoolmaster at Tranent. startling at the proposal. and telling how the animal came lowing after the sorcerer to his schoolroom door. there was one Barbara Napier. and being indifferent perhaps about the issue. “ News from Scotland. Pitcairn supposes that this connexion may have arisen from her devotion to the Catholic faith and her friendship for the Earl of Bothwell. a dangerous profession considering the times in which she lived. the original of which charm occurs in the story of Apuleius. otherwise Cunninghame. affecting to cure diseases by words and charms. whereupon the Wise Wife refused to raise the devil. like a second Pasiphaë. and the sick woman's husband. but a grave matron. and about thirty other poor creatures of the lowest condition — among the rest. He attended on the examinations himself.* Besides these persons.

whereupon the bolts gave way. invisible to the crew. his finger bones were splintered in the pilniewinks.twisting of a cord around her head. they embarked in sieves with much mirth and jollity. or Cunninghame. where it is accounted very indifferent manners to name an individual by his own name. his knees were crushed in the boots . Euphane MacCalzean. was fairly overcome. Gif ye will not gang before. and their master the devil appeared to his servants in the shape of a black man occupying the pulpit. and the ball was maintained by well-nigh two hundred persons. having four joints of men knit to its feet. the number of dancers considered. let me. pins were driven into the places which the nails usually defended. by the help of the devil. according to the custom of the Buccaneers. the unhallowed crew entered. in reverse of the motion of the sun. and called Fian by his own name. At length his constancy. in case of affording ground of evidence which may upon a day of trial be brought against him. This was considered as bad taste. concluded the evening with a divertisement and a dance after his own manner. which was to place his majesty at the mercy of this infernal crew. which they threw into the sea to excite a tempest. who had charmed a cat by certain spells. The devil was particularly upbraided on this subject by divers respectable-looking females — no question. confessed that she had consulted with one Richard Grahame concerning the probable length of the king's life. Fian then blew into the lock of the church-door. singing this chant — “Cummer. dimly seen. withershinns . they feasted till the sport grew tiresome. as the bystanders supposed. and the means of shortening it. or the like. repeatedly promised. foreign ship richly laded with wines. Cummers. and he gave an account of a great witch-meeting at North Berwick. Il est un homme de Dieu . was also visited by the sharpest tortures. like the weird sisters in Macbeth. to whom they at length resorted for advice. The poor woman also acknowledged that she had held a meeting with those of her sisterhood. ordinary and extraordinary. instead of the demoniacal sobriquet of Rob the Rowar. gang ye before. that is. The former consisted in disinterring a new-buried corpse. Another frolic they had when. the music seems to have been rather imperfect. Barbara Napier. smugglers. Geillis Duncan was the only instrumental performer. Cummer gang ye. the Fiend rolling himself before them upon the waves. The devil on this memorable occasion forgot himself. which had been assigned to him as Master of the Rows or Rolls. told them in French respecting King James. where. They went on board of. where they paced round the church. something disconcerted. He was saluted with an ” Hail. and she . hitherto sustained. Satan. and then Satan sunk the vessel and all on board. and dividing it in fragments among the company. But Satan. and some other amateur witch above those of the ordinary profession. “ Master !” but the company were dissatisfied with his not having brought a picture of the king. who danced a ring dance. and the rule is still observed at every rendezvous of forgers. Fian. The nails were torn from his fingers with smith's pincers. Agnes Sampson. and resembling a huge haystack in size and appearance.” After this choral exhibition.

* and were cast quick in it again. Almost all these poor wretches were executed. for at this meeting it was said the witches demanded of the devil why he did bear such enmity against the king ? who returned the flattering answer that the king was the greatest enemy whom he had in the world. and caused her to play before him the same tune to which Satan and his companions led the brawl in North Berwick churchyard. brak out of the fire. and was highly honoured. his dutiful Privy Council began to think that they . and the union of the crowns.” This singular document shows that even in the reign of James. and others. Nor did King James's removal to England soften this horrible persecution. and took great delight to be present at the examinations of the accused. generally acting as clerk or recorder. till they were burned to the death. nor did Euphane MacCalzean's station in life save her from the common doom. renouncing and blaspheming [God]. In Sir Thomas Hamiltons's Minutes of Proceedings in the Privy Council. which was strangling to death. and submitting themselves to the king's pleasure. half burned. as above mentioned. and others of James's Council. the same extort confessions. and being put to an assize and convicted. yet they were burned quick [alive]. concluded in the same tragedy at the stake and the pile The alterations and trenching which lately took place the purpose of improving the Castlehill of Edinburgh displayed the ashes of the numbers who had perished in manner. The majority of the jury which tried Barbara Napier having acquitted her of attendance at the North Berwick meeting. This rigorous and iniquitous conduct shows a sufficient reason why there should be so few acquittals from a charge of witchcraft where the juries were so much at the mercy of the crown. and burning to ashes thereafter. The Earl of Mar declared to the Council that some women were taken in Broughton as witches. December I. after such a cruel manner that some of them died in despair. He sent for Geillis Duncan. I have modernized the spelling that this appalling record may be legible to all my readers. muffled. the same prejudiced and exaggerated evidence. led the ring. and could only escape from severe censure and punishment by pleading guilty.played on a Jew's harp. called in Scotland a trump . evincing plainly that the Earl of Mar. of whom a large proportion must have be executed between 1590. when the great discovery was made concerning Euphane MacCalzean and the Wise Wire Keith and their accomplices.* His ears were gratified in another way. there occurs a singular entry. were becoming fully sensible of the desperate iniquity and inhumanity of these proceedings. It would be disgusting to follow the numerous cases in which the same uniform credulity. Fian. King James was deeply interested in those mysterious meetings. albeit they persevered constant in their denial to the end. “1608. were themselves threatened with a trial for wilful error upon an assize. so soon as his own august person was removed from Edinburgh. Dr.

yet the said Margaret Barclay declared that she gave her hand only in obedience to the kirk-session. About this time the bark of John Dein was about to sail for France. but that she still retained her hatred and ill-will against John Dein and his wife. Upon this provocation Margaret Barclay raised an action of slander before the church court. as guilty of some act of theft. little abatement in the persecution of this metaphysical crime of witchcraft can be traced in the kingdom. more tragic in its event than that of the chestnut-muncher in Macbeth. the spouse of John Dein. and were satiated with the excess of cruelty which dashed half-consumed wretches back to the flames from which they were striving to escape. however much it may have been disgusting and terrifying to the Council at the time. had no lasting effect on the course of justice. and that partans (crabs) might eat the crew at the bottom of the sea. named John Stewart. and to possess the power of a spaeman. a vagabond fellow. Janet Lyal. or Tran.* Margaret Barclay. as the severities against witches were most unhappily still considered necessary.had supt full with horrors. But the picture. who was an owner of the vessel. pretending to have knowledge of jugglery. Nevertheless. praying to God that sea nor salt-water might never bear the ship. Cromwell himself. When. and the greater part of the seventeenth century. was heard to imprecate curses upon the provost's argosy. reconciliation between the parties. and his major-generals and substitutes. burgess of Irvine. it may amuse the reader to confine the narrative to a single trial. provost of the burgh of Irvine. are in detail as monotonous as they are melancholy. Even while the Independents held the reins of government. though the journals of the time express the horror and disgust with which the English sectarians beheld a practice so inconsistent with their own humane principle of universal toleration. Janet Lyal. the revengeful person already mentioned. under these auspices. having in the course of it some peculiar and romantic events. which prosecution. had been slandered by her sister-in-law. and dropped explicit hints that the ship was lost. although the two women shook hands before the court. generally speaking. and Andrew Train. were obliged to please the common people of Scotland by abandoning the victims accused of witchcraft to the power of the law. the provost. brother of Archibald. and by John Dein himself. with a sufficient number of mariners. and that the good woman of the house was a widow. after some procedure. the kirk-session discharged by directing a. It is the tale of a sailor's wife. Instead of plunging into a history of these events which. went with him to superintend the commercial part of the voyage. Margaret Barclay. The sad . came to the residence of Tran. the ship was absent on her voyage. and though the intention of the entry upon the records was obviously for the purpose of preventing such horrid cruelties in future. Through the whole of the sixteenth. Two other merchants of some consequence went in the same vessel. wife of Archibald Dein.

who was keeper of a baby belonging to Margaret Barclay. with the melancholy tidings that the bark.truth was afterwards learned on more certain information. and went into an empty waste-house nearer the seaport. he added a string of circumstances. with other two women. who had imprecated curses on the ship. with fair hair. except the two sailors who brought the notice. but. the female acquaintances of Margaret Barclay were next convened. From this house they went to the sea-side. the other suspected person. and that. or had the power of communicating them. in those days easily awakened. and found her engaged. in plunging them in the sea. roared. and during this labour the devil appeared to the company in the shape of a handsome black lap-dog. Suspicion of sorcery. He had come. one of the figures was made handsome. the evidence of this child was contradictory and inconsistent with the confession of the . and a girl of fourteen years old who dwelt at the town-head. who lived as servant with Margaret Barclay. that she might obtain the fruit of sea and land. and cast in the figures of clay representing the ship and the men. This child. had been wrecked on the coast of England. followed by the black lapdog aforesaid. supposed o represent Provost Tran. and. who was first apprehended. when he pitched upon a woman called Isobel Insh or Taylor. declared that she was present when the fatal models of clay were formed. were assisted by another woman. So far as well. “ in order that she might get gear. the juggler. He went to Margaret's house by night. Legally considered. was fixed on Margaret Barclay. An addition to the evidence against the poor old woman Insh was then procured from her own daughter. of which John Dein was skipper and Provost Tran part owner. a child of eight years old . however. after a space of doubt and anxiety. after which the sea raged. She was imprisoned. whether voluntarily declared or extracted by torture. They then proceeded to mould a figure of a ship in clay. in the belfry of the church. Two of the seamen. which tended to fix the cause of the loss of the bark on Margaret Barclay. to this woman's house in Irvine. and became red like the juice of madder in a dyer's cauldron. love of man. shortly after the ship set sail from harbour. the person principally accused. he said. who had seemed to know of the evil fate of the voyage before he could have become acquainted with it by natural means. when all on board had been lost. This confession having been extorted from the unfortunate juggler. acknowledged that Margaret Barclay. her heart's desire on such persons as had done her wrong. kye's milk.* He added that the whole party left the house together. Margaret Tailzeour. near Padstow. such as ladies use to keep. and her mother Isobel Insh. in making clay figures. and on John Stewart. either from terror or the innate love of falsehood which we have observed as proper to childhood. that he might point out her associates in forming the charm. Stewart. true or false. finally. arrived. Margaret Barclay her mistress. which house he pointed out to the city magistrates.” Stewart declared that he denied to Margaret that he possessed the said arts himself. who resolutely denied having ever seen him before. had applied to him to teach her some magic arts.

that. disclosed. in trying of the foresaid devilish practices. for a commission was granted for the trial of the two remaining persons accused. conform to the tenor of the foresaid commission. the juggler. to whose appearance she also added the additional terrors of that of a black man. was put in a sure lockfast booth. This poor creature almost admitted the supernatural powers imputed to her. but have success in all his dealings by sea and land. she sustained a severe fall and was greatly bruised. and was not present when the images were put into the sea. which we give as stated in the record: — “ My Lord and Earl of Eglintoune (who dwells within the space of one mile to the said burgh) having come to the said burgh at the earnest request of the said justices. as they conceived. The scene began to thicken. the said John Stewart. being re-examined and confronted with the child. the unfortunate woman made use of the darkness to attempt an escape. locks. The day of trial being arrived. although. Stewart. says the report. She was finally brought to promise that she would fully confess the whole that she knew of the affair on the morrow. for it assigned other particular and dramatis personæ in many respects different. and she at length acknowledged her presence at the time when the models of the ship and mariners were destroyed. For her own countenance and presence on the occasion. and Margaret Barclay. The conspiracy thus far. Being apprehended. Bailie Dunlop again urged her to confess. but endeavoured so to modify her declaration as to deny all personal accession to the guilt. and dying five days after her fall from the roof of the church. only alleging that Isobel Insh remained behind in the waste-house. The inhabitants of Irvine attributed her death to poison. according to her account. he should never make a bad voyage. for giving to them of his lordship's countenance. for his better preserving to the day of the assize. denying all that she had formerly admitted. With this view she got out by a back window of the belfry. promising Bailie Dunlop (also a mariner). John Stewart. but the poor woman was determined to appeal to a more merciful tribunal. especially since the girl failed not to swear to the presence of the black dog. and maintained her innocence to the last minute of her life. the following singular events took place. losing her footing. emitted flashes from its jaws and nostrils to illuminate the witches during the performance of the spell.juggler. The dog also. concurrence and assistance. and to ensure her secrecy. namely. and to give that marvellous account of his correspondence with Elfland which we have noticed elsewhere.” and attained the roof of the church. But was accounted sufficiently regular. her mistress promised her a pair of new shoes. there were “ iron bolts. and fetters on her. where no manner of person might have access to him till the downsitting of the . by whom she was imprisoned. was easily compelled to allow that the ” little smatchet” was there. if he would dismiss her. where. But finding herself in so hard a strait. The child maintained this story even to her mother's face. the magistrates and ministers wrought bard with Isobel Insh to prevail upon her to tell the truth.

strangled and hanged by the cruik of the door. or a string made of hemp. our sovereign lord's justices in that part particularly above-named. and for eschewing of the like in the person of the said Margaret. Which being removed. David Dickson. and that the persons summoned to pass upon her assize and upon the assize of the juggler who. and Mr. not above the length of two span long. his life not being totally expelled. constituted by commission after solemn deliberation and advice of the said noble lord. as use is. and before God I shall show you the whole form !' . had made her associates who were the lights of the cause. to be confronted with a woman of the burgh of Air. and broke not the skin of her legs. They used the torture underwritten as being most safe and gentle (as the said noble lord assured the said justices). supposed to have been his garter. by the help of the devil his master. to cry and crave for God's cause to take off her shins the foresaid. by the help of the devil his master. he acquiesced in their prayer and godly exhortation. And upon that same day of the assize. the said Margaret began. he revived not. George Dunbar. minister at Irvine. whose concurrence and advice was chiefly required and taken in this matter. and that God would of his infinite mercy loose him out of the bonds of the devil. therefore. about half an hour before the downsitting of the justice Court. or string of his bonnet. and being of new essayed in torture as of befoir. with a tait of hemp. minister of Air.justice Court. and in easing of her by offtaking of the iron gauds one or more as occasion offered. Mr. and was brought out of the house. who was apprehended by the magistrates of the burgh of Air for witchcraft. she began at her former denial. but so ended his life miserably. whom he had served these many years bygone. she then uttered these words: ' Take off. called Janet Bous. were all present within the said burgh. in respect the devil. and for avoiding of putting violent bands on himself. concluded with all possible diligence before the downsitting of the Justice Court to put the said Margaret in torture.' And immediately after the departing of the two ministers from him. having gone to him to exhort him to call on his God for mercy for his bygone wicked and evil life. by putting of her two bare legs in a pair of stocks. and thereafter by onlaying of certain iron gauds (bars) severally one by one. by God's permission. to be their own burrioes (slayers). had put violent hands on himself. nor to get bread to my mouth. take off. his knees not being from the ground half a span. according to the increase of the pain. But notwithstanding of whatsoever means used in the contrary for remeid of his life. and uttered these words: — ” I am so straitly guarded that it lies not in my power to get my hand to take off my bonnet. which iron gauds were but little short gauds. and sent to the burgh of Irvine purposely for that affair. &c. the juggler being sent for at the desire of my Lord of Eglintoune. and she should declare truly the whole matter. he was found by the burgh officers who went about him. and then eiking and augmenting the weight by laying on more gauds. “ And because there was then only in life the said Margaret Barclay. he was very strictly guarded and fettered by the arms. irons. “ After using of the which kind of gentle torture.

who was a young and lively person. when it began to fail. the explanation of which. however imaginary. for when the prisoner was asked by the lawyer whether she wished to be defended ? she answered. and Mr. “ Ye have been too long in coming. which. might glorify and magnify his holy name. removed. minister of the burgh. her cow give milk. .” The jury. and loading her bare shins with bars of iron. but (i. when. as she said. freely. Whose desire in that being fulfilled she made her confession in this manner. John Cunninghame. or that an apparent penitence for her offence. might be either that she had really in her ignorance and folly tampered with some idle spells. and Mr. she . But the gentle torture — a strange junction of words — recommended as an anodyne by the good Lord Eglinton — the placing. “ As you please. and saving the rest of the crew. retorting the principal blame on Margaret Barclay herself. God's name by earnest prayer being called upon for opening of her lips. and Hugh Kennedy. Mr. provost of Ayr. and disappoint the enemy of her salvation. and she should declare truly.e. that she. without interrogation. the said four justices. since the bars were not actually upon her limbs at the time it was delivered. to come by themselves and to remove all others. appeared in court with a lawyer to act in his wife's behalf. in her circumstances. She at the same time involved in the guilt Isobel Crawford. Apparently. Mitchell Wallace. unmoved by these affecting circumstances.” To which she pathetically added. and in great terror confessed the imputed crime. or a portion of the prayers of the clergy and congregation. when Alexander Dein. affirming that it was with the purpose of killing only her brother-in-law and Provost Tran. her legs in the stocks. by rendering of the truth. the weights were removed. as she should answer to God the whole matter. &c. however. and the said Mr.” — Trial of Margaret Barclay. Margaret Barclay. and. to make. before God. she then desired my Lord of Eglintoune. proceeded upon the principle that the confession of the accused could not be considered as made tinder the influence of torture.“ And the said irons being of new. It is singular that she should have again returned to her confession after sentence. and died affirming it. This poor woman was also apprehended. that she carried about her rowan-tree and coloured thread. George Dunbar. all I have spoken is false and untrue. On this nice distinction they in one voice found Margaret Barclay guilty. minister of Kilmarnock. although they were placed at her elbow ready to be again laid on her bare shins. She then told a story of destroying the ship of John Dein. at her screams and declarations that she was willing to tell all. and the only appearance of conviction obtained against her was. overcame her resolution. The trial was then appointed to proceed. David Dickson. minister of Ayr. the husband of Margaret Barclay. the sight of her husband awakened some hope and desire of life. 1618. was the only mode in which she could obtain any share of public sympathy at her death. minister of Dalry. and easing of her heart. upon her faithfull promise. if she was less explicit in her declaration than her auditors wished. namely. . without) any kind of demand. But all I have confest was in agony of torture. had hitherto conducted herself like a passionate and high tempered woman innocently accused.

is the . as it were. had made earnest prayers to God for opening her obdurate and closed heart. It was one fatal consequence of these cruel persecutions. which has been almost the sole reason by which a few individuals. how poor wretches. became disposed to throw away the lives that were rendered bitter to them by a voluntary confession of guilt. the magistrates. even in modern times. This unfortunate young creature was strangled at the stake. It is remarkable that she earnestly entreated the magistrates that no harm should be done to Isobel Crawford. and absolutely refusing to pardon the executioner. incensed at the nature of the crime. suffer above thirty stone of iron to be laid on her legs. and at the loss of several friends of their own. as they conceived. even by confession of what all believed respecting her.might be willing to purchase. very particularly and at considerable length. David Dickson. and of a connexion with the devil which had subsisted for several years. her constancy gave way. and after the assistant minister of Irvine. did not forbear to insist against Isobel Crawford. having died with many expressions of religion and penitence. inculpated by Margaret Barclay's confession. since she did “ admirably. the woman whom she had herself accused. she broke out into horrible cries (though not more than three bars were then actually on her person) of — ” Tak aff — tak aff!” On being relieved from the torture. but remaining. as it is. After this had been denounced. It is scarce possible that. a man of sense can listen for an instant to the evidence founded on confessions thus obtained. This tragedy happened in the year 1613. so perilous as it seemed to men of a maritime life. without any kind of din or exclamation. and died without any sign of repentance. merely because the throwing some clay models into the sea. when extorted by such means. never shrinking thereat in any sort. and exposed to personal tortures of an acute description. and recorded. and her body burnt to ashes. her feet being in the stocks. in particular. Sentence was given against her accordingly. Four persons here lost their lives. A new commission was granted for her trial. for no day was fixed in which a particular vessel was lost. Accordingly in the present case. offering repeated interruption to the minister in his prayer. The result of the judicial examination of a criminal. Mr. that one pile was usually lighted at the embers of another. as in the case of Margaret Barclay. she openly denied all her former confessions. deprived of all human sympathy. and removing them to another part of her shins. have endeavoured to justify a belief in the existence of witchcraft. forms the most detailed specimen I have met with of a Scottish trial for witchcraft — illustrating. abandoned. she made the usual confession of all that she was charged with. rather than struggle hopelessly against so many evils. She endured this torture with incredible firmness.” But in shifting the situation of the iron bars. three victims having already perished by this accusation. corresponded with the season. by God and the world. one of whom had been their principal magistrate. after reading such a story. a fact told differently by the witnesses who spoke of it. she was subjected to the torture of iron bars laid upon her bare shins. steady.

that we are under the necessity of bestowing a few words upon those celebrated persons. This Major Weir was seized by the magistrates on a strange whisper that became current respecting vile practices. his wit and talent appeared to forsake him. One case. The disgusting profligacies which he confessed were of such a character that it may be charitably hoped most of them were the fruits of a depraved imagination. 1670. at the Gallow-hill. In the years of the Commonwealth this man was trusted and employed by those who were then at the head of affairs. as he had no hope whatever of escaping Satan. in which he alleged he had never seen the devil. lost their lives during two centuries on such charges and such evidence as proved the death of those persons in the trial of the Irvine witches. It was noticed. but such as urged him not to repent. Major Weir and his sister. arguing that. He died so stupidly sullen and impenitent as to justify the opinion that he was oppressed with a kind of melancholy frenzy. is so much distinguished by fame among the numerous instances which occurred in Scottish history. there was no need of incensing him by vain efforts at repentance. with a maiden sister who had kept his house. and his mother a lady of family in Clydesdale). however. His witchcraft seems to have been taken for granted on his own confession. He was peculiar in his gift of prayer. He received sentence of death. nay perhaps thousands. as was the custom of the period. by some association. which he generally walked with. and even when voluntarily given. and peculiarly attached to that cause. he could not pray with the same warmth and fluency of expression unless when he had in his hand a stick of peculiar shape and appearance. between Leith and Edinburgh. which it is more easy to conceive than to explain. to be very strict in executing severity upon such Royalists as fell under his military charge. From this time he would answer no interrogatory. is scarce admissible without the corroboration of other testimony. but any feeling he had of him was in the dark. and. It was also remarkable in his case that he had been a Covenanter. and was in 1649 commander of the City-Guard of Edinburgh. he avowed solemnly that he had not confessed the hundredth part of the crimes which he had committed. an infirmity easily reconcilable with the formal pretences which he made to a high show of religious zeal. When he had completed his confession. was subject to fits of melancholic lunacy.most suspicious of all evidence. the consequence perhaps of remorse. but to . that when this stick was taken from him. The case of this notorious wizard was remarkable chiefly from his being a man of some condition (the son of a gentleman. In this capacity he was understood. until it came to be observed that. It appears that the Major. which he seems to have admitted without either shame or contrition. which Procured him his title of Major. in short. though he appears to have been in many respects a wicked and criminal hypocrite. nor would he have recourse to prayer. which he suffered 12th April. We might here take leave of our Scottish history of witchcraft by barely mentioning that many hundreds. was often called to exercise his talent by the bedside of sick persons. as his indictment was chiefly founded on the same document. which was seldom the case with those that fell under similar accusations. as was indeed implied in the duties of that officer at the period.

The remains of the house in which he and his sister lived are still shown at the head of the West Bow. Her last words were in the tone of the sect to which her brother had so long affected to belong: “ Many. rejoiced to have an opportunity. some account of her connexion with the queen of the fairies.” said. Hickes. the author of ” Thesaurus Septentrionalis. who fired at the Archbishop of St. and the case of Mitchell. On the scaffold this woman. or hearing the hum of the necromantic wheel. As knowledge and learning began to increase. to which he was appointed so early as 1678. and that while there her brother received information of the event of the battle of Worcester. made such a lasting impression on the public mind as that of Major Weir. had the honour to be amongst the first to decline acting as a commissioner on the trial of a witch. was condemned also to death. in their turn. so many of which occurred near and in Edinburgh. Sir John Clerk. No one saw the style of their equipage except themselves. but alas ! few are weeping for a broken Covenant. At the time I am writing this last fortress of superstitious renown is in the the course of being destroyed. It seems probable that he was burnt alive. Of her brother she said that one day a friend called upon them at noonday with a fiery chariot. and bold was the urchin from the High School who dared approach the gloomy ruin at the risk of seeing the Major's enchanted staff parading through the old apartments. It is certain that no story of witchcraft or necromancy. His sister. Dr. upon whom the Covenanters used to throw many aspersions respecting their receiving proof against shot from the devil.” written with the unjust purpose of attaching to the religious sect to which the wizard and assassin belonged the charge of having fostered and encouraged the crimes they committed or attempted. which procured for his sister such a character as a spinner. and with scarce less trouble was she flung from the ladder by the executioner. determining. Andrews his book called ” Ravaillac Redivivus. and witch trials.” The Scottish prelatists. “ weep and lament for a poor old wretch like me. and acknowledged the assistance she received from that sovereign in spinning an unusual quantity of yarn. and in my younger days was employed for the latter use. and other infernal practices. to retort on their adversaries the charge of sorcery. as usual. although not discontinued.* . with whom he was supposed to have had an incestuous connexion.despair. more seldom disgrace our records of criminal jurisprudence. a scholar and an antiquary. in order to the modern improvements now carrying on in a quarter long thought unimprovable. leaving a stronger and more explicit testimony of their mutual sins than could be extracted from the Major. and invited them to visit a friend at Dalkeith. to die ” with the greatest shame possible.” published on the subject of Major Weir. the gentlemen and clergy of Scotland became ashamed of the credulity of their ancestors. which has a gloomy aspect. but no family would inhabit the haunted walls as a residence. the grandfather of the late celebrated John Clerk of Eldin. It was at different times a brazier's shop and a magazine for lint. well suited for a necromancer.” was with difficulty prevented from throwing off her clothes before the people. as she said. She gave.

was strangled by the devil in person. and who must be supposed to speak the sense of his many respectable patrons. and some topping professors in and about the city of Glasgow. to the unspeakable prejudice of Christian charity. anno 1697 — a time when persons of more goodness and esteem than most of their calumniators were defamed for witches. A strolling vagabond. laid an accusation of witchcraft against two women. of Bargarran. had delivered his opinion on the subject in the “ Gentle Shepherd. believed himself bewitched to death by six witches. and imprisoned with the usual severities. as was charitably said. with such like grounds not worthy to be represented to a magistrate. “ I own. daughter of John Shaw. But as her imposture was afterwards discovered and herself punished. so that oftentimes old age. that he did not feel himself warlock (that is. Bell in his MS. Mr. five of the accused were executed.” says the Rev. a late instance whereof we had in the west.” ” there has been much harm done to worthy and innocent persons in the common way of finding out witches. apparently a man of melancholic and valetudinary habits. besides one John Reed. This unlucky damsel. of whom five were executed. was the principal evidence. and which was occasioned mostly by the forwardness and absurd credulity of diverse otherwise worthy ministers of the gospel. Sir George Maxwell. Allan Ramsay. conjurer) sufficient to be a judge upon such an inquisition. In 1676. lest he should make disclosures to the detriment of the service. continued to imitate a case of possession so accurately that no less than twenty persons were condemned upon her evidence. and the sixth only escaped on account of extreme youth. The chief evidence on the subject was a vagabond girl. drily. beginning her practices out of a quarrel with a maid-servant. Janet . one man and five women. who affected fits. about eleven years of age. and in the means made use of for promoting the discovery of such wretches and bringing them to justice. in the business of the sorceries exercised upon the Laird of Bargarran's daughter. In the year 1704 a frightful instance of popular bigotry occurred at Pittenweem. it is reasonably to be concluded that she had herself formed the picture or image of Sir George. who hanged himself in prison.” * Those who doubted of the sense of the law or reasonableness of the practice in such cases. have yet moved many to suspect and defame their neighbours. One of the unhappy creatures. “ Treatise on Witchcraft. his friend. features. But even those who believed in witchcraft were now begin to open their eyes to the dangers in the present mode of prosecution. A still more remarkable case occurred at Paisley in 1697. In the meantime. and had hid it where it was afterwards found in consequence of her own information. began to take courage and state their objections boldly.alleging.” where Mause's imaginary witchcraft constitutes the machinery of the poem. where a young girl. of Pollock. pretending to be deaf and dumb. and ill-fame. Yet these dawnings of sense and humanity were obscured by the clouds of the ancient superstition on more than one distinguished occasion. or. who were accordingly seized on. who were leagued for the purpose of tormenting a clay image in his likeness. poverty.

A certain carpenter.Cornfoot by name. The Advocate reminded this local judge that the duty of inferior magistrates. and the crowd exercised their brutal pleasure on the poor old woman. he made such a dispersion that they were quiet for the night. was so infested with cats. first. and in the long run the sentiments which it advocates are commonly those of good sense and humanity. escaped from prison. a third. in her compelled confession. The magistrates made no attempts for her rescue. in the first place. Robert Dundas of Arniston. where she fell into the hands of a ferocious mob. and his professional weapon of an axe. two witches were said to have died. and heaping stones upon it till she was pressed to death. named Nin Gilbert. intended to judge in the case himself. but was unhappily caught. There were answers published. however. was to advise with the King's Counsel. in which the parties assailed were zealously defended. on which the hag was enclosed in prison. and brought back to Pittenweem. The case of. it should take place. as usual. dirk. The superior authorities were expected to take up the affair. then King's Advocate. the injured limb withered. was still more remarkable. which is one of the most nonsensical in this nonsensical department of the law. The officers in the higher branches of the law dared now assert their official authority and reserve for their own decision cases of supposed witchcraft which the fear of public clamour had induced them formerly to leave in the hands of inferior judges. it was something gained that the cruelty was exposed to the public. wrote a severe letter of censure to the Sheriff-depute of Caithness. Still. as his servant-maid reported.” The Sheriff-depute sends. as having neglected to communicate officially certain precognitions which he had led respecting some recent practices of witchcraft in his county. and beyond the jurisdiction of an inferior court. pined. As even the existing laws against witchcraft were transgressed by this brutal riot. but it so happened. and the question which remained was. that the murder went without the investigation which a crime so horrid demanded. The voice of general opinion was now appealed to. pelted her with stones. in such cases. operated upon by all the prejudices of the country and the populace. before what court. where she also died. she had. and betwixt his Highland arms of knife. consisting of rude seamen and fishers. ” a thing of too great difficulty to be tried without very deliberate advice. named William Montgomery. and finally fell off. whether any process should be directed against persons whom. In consequence of his blows. In 1718. swung her suspended on a rope betwixt a ship and the shore. He also called the magistrate's attention to a report. the precognition * of the affair. and if so. . whether they should be made subject of a trial or not. during the general distraction of the country concerning the Union. and finally ended her miserable existence by throwing a door over her as she lay exhausted on the beach. “ spoke among themselves. Her leg being broken. which. the celebrated lawyer. and broad-sword. with his apology. that he.” that he fell in a rage upon a party of these animals which had assembled in his house at irregular hours. and in what manner. a warm attack was made upon the magistrates and ministers of the town by those who were shocked at a tragedy of such a horrible cast. the Sheriff-depute.

and might in remote comers be again awakened to deeds of blood. by placing in a cowhouse. who had so little idea of her situation as to rejoice at the sight of the fire which was destined to consume her. the design conjectured.informed against. in process of time he became a good sailor. to pronounce the last sentence of death for witchcraft which was ever passed in Scotland. near to which village his father had his mansion. unless to prevent explosions of popular enmity against people suspected of such a crime. a Sheriff-depute of Sutherland. under instructions. The victim was an insane old woman belonging to the parish of Loth. She had a daughter lame both of hands and feet. of which some instances could be produced. to whom the poor of her extensive country are as well known as those of the higher order. from a knavish governor. took it into his head. and finally was drowned in a storm. Countess of Sutherland in her own right. a circumstance attributed to the witch's having been used to transform her into a pony. The remains of the superstition sometimes occur. and though he is said at one time to have been disposed to try his fits while on board. took it upon him. laying the cause of his distress on certain old witches in Calder. and one or two of them died. and by main force taken the unfortunate creature out of the hands of the populace. quashed all further procedure. but the lame daughter. Lord Torphichen. The noble family also began to see through the cheat. parings of nails. when the discipline of the navy proved too sever for his cunning. and other counter-spells. the third son of James. The boy was sent to sea. The Lord Advocate. an ignorant and malignant woman seems really to have meditated the destruction of her neighbour's property. It does not appear that any punishment was inflicted for this cruel abuse of the law on the person of a creature so helpless. it is said. The women were imprisoned. was living so lately as to receive the charity of the present Marchioness of Stafford. An instance or two may be quoted chiefly as facts known to the author himself. This precious spell was discovered. and other trumpery. a pot of baked clay containing locks of hair. Since this deplorable action there has been no judicial interference in Scotland on account of witchcraft. an unlucky boy. In the year 1722. and the witch would have been torn to pieces had not a high-spirited and excellent lady in the neighbourhood gathered some of her people (though these were not very fond of the service). evincing that the belief in witchcraft is only asleep. he himself distinguished by the same misfortune. as may be supposed. In a remote part of the Highlands. in flagrant violation of the then established rules of jurisdiction. The formidable spell is now in my possession. or byre as we call it. there can be no doubt that the vulgar are still addicted to the custom of scoring above the breath* (as it is termed). assisted gallantly in defence of the vessel against the pirates of Angria. to play the possessed and bewitched person. but the Crown counsel would not proceed to trial. In 1720. and get her shod by the devil. . Captain David Ross of Littledean.

” he said. in the town of Dalkeith. They parted. as they were taking down the walls of a building formerly used as a feeding-house for cattle. In distress on this account. the dearth of the years alluded to. She scolded the wealthy farmer. “ I am sorry to be obliged to refuse you. subsisted chiefly by rearing chickens. upon a case so extraordinary. there was found below the threshold-stone the withered heart of some animal stuck fall of many scores of pins — a counter-charm. that the accused herself was not to be reconciled to the sheriff's doctrine so easily. The good farmer hardly knew what to think of this. The official person showed him that the laws against witchcraft were abrogated. honest man. the dame went to a neigbbouring farmer. as a friend rather than a magistrate. He reminded her that. The last Scottish story with which I will trouble you happened in or shortly after the year 1800. and without which her little stock of poultry must have been inevitably starved. after some angry language on both sides. against the operations of witchcraft on the cattle which are kept within. and chiefly because the farmers were un-willing to sell grain in the very moderate quantities which she was able to purchase. But she felt. It is strange. and wished evil to his property. and to open these sacks again. but true. and create much trouble and disadvantage.” On receiving this answer. would cast my accounts loose. he hastened to consult the sheriff of the county. like others. she must expose herself to suspicions. the old woman's temper gave way. As the old woman in the present instance fought her way through life better than her neighbours. or such a place. but my corn is measured out for Dalkeith market. my carts are loaded to set out. but distressing to the poor. which is also a precaution lest an evil eye or an evil spell may do the animal harm. envy stigmatized her as having some unlawful mode of increasing the gains of her little trade. “ Good neighbour. according to tradition. et malum secutum . off came the wheel from one of them. The dearth of the years in the end of the eighteenth and beginning of this century was inconvenient to all. if she used her tongue with so much license. Scarce knowing what to believe. I dare say you will get all you want at such a place. which was just setting off for the market. as the carts crossed the ford of the river beneath the farm-house. and the whole circumstances are well known to me. A solitary old woman. there were the two circumstances deemed of old essential and sufficient to the crime of witchcraft-Damnum minatum . and apparently she did not take much alarm at the accusation. and sure enough. and five or six sacks of corn were damaged by the water. and requested him as a favour to sell her a peck of oats at any price. and even the farmers' wives. an operation requiring so much care and attention that the gentry. and had little difficulty to bring him to regard the matter in its true light of an accident. a very good-natured. Among the almost innumerable droves of bullocks which come down every year from the Highlands for the south. often find it better to buy poultry at a certain age than to undertake the trouble of bringing them up. there is scarce one but has a curious knot upon his tail. in a wild and lonely district. and that should coincidences happen to irritate her . sensible.About two years since. and for so small a quantity.

iii.” * I am obliged to the kindness of Mr. their consequences. So low. * A copy of the record of the trial. The tree near the front of an ancient castle was called the Covine tree . But that of another. professing. but something aye comes after my words when I am ill-guided and speak ower fast. * Sinclair's ” Satan's Invisible World Discovered. believed to have been popular on such occasions. so that I can only thank him in this general acknowledgment. would certainly of old have made her a fit victim. and her disposition to insist upon their efficacy.” p. * “Satan's invisible World.” In short. which. sir. and bore the same relation to that city as the borough of Southwark to London. his belief that her words and intentions were perfectly harmless. gar cast her a pickle. 45 * Sinclair's “Satan's Invisible World Discovered. * Fountainhall's “ Decisions. “ I would be laith to wish ony ill either to you or yours. was sent to me by a friend who withheld his name. would go near. But best of his ain minnie. which took place in Ayrshire. He therefore requested her to be more cautious in her language for her own sake.” § Stubble. that perhaps it is only received by those half-crazy individuals who feel a species of consequence derived from accidental coincidences. At least one hypochondriac patient is known to the author. * This word Covine seems to signify a subdivision or squad.neighbours. “limb and lire.136 Pining We should read perhaps. is now the belief in witchcraft. He's well loo'd in the western waters. which might have in other times conveyed her to the stake. and afterwards minister of Eastwood. * “Lucii Apuleii Metamorphoses. i.” vol. at the same time. let her wish her worst to him. were they received by the community in general. she was obstinate in claiming an influence over the destiny of others by words and wishes. ” for I kenna how it is. she might suffer harm at a time when there was no one to protect her. 15. “The silly bit chicken. Canongate. * Or Scottish wandering beggar. so that he wants nothing but an indulgent judge to awake again the old ideas of sorcery. Pitcairn for this singular extract. who believes himself the victim of a gang of witches.” * See p.” p. and other suburban parts of Edinburgh. 43. “He is lord of the hunting horn. in Renfrewshire. is preserved. And she will do good.” lib. * Mackenzie's “Criminal Law.” p. in short. and ascribes his illness to their charms. p. She was rather more angry than pleased at the well-meaning sheriff's scepticism. but as it contains material resembling those out of which many tragic incidents have arisen. * This .” she said. The author was Professor of Moral Philosophy in the University of Glasgow. probably because the lord received his company there. for which her expressions. and that he had no apprehension of being hurt by her. And she will grow mickle.” by Mr. Leith. The southern reader must be informed that the jurisdiction or regality of Broughton embraced Holyrood. 98. And king of the Covine tree. as on former occasions. George Sinclair. to cost the lives of those who make their boast of them. At present the story is scarcely worth mentioning. * The music of this witch tune is unhappily lost.

Vincent — Of a British General Officer — Of an Apparition in France — Of the Second Lord Lyttelton — Of Bill Jones — Of Jarvis Matcham — Trial of two Highlanders for the Murder of Sergeant Davis. with some approach to certainty. and that a sage acquainted with her lore could predict. who flattered those who confided in her that the planets and stars in their spheres figure forth and influence the fate of the creatures of mortality. while it was at the same time most seductive to human credulity. Dun — Irish Superstition of the Banshie — Similar Superstition in the Highlands — Brownie — Ghosts — Belief of Ancient Philosophers on that Subject — Inquiry into the respect due to such Tales in Modern Times — Evidence of a Ghost against a Murderer — Ghost of Sir George Villiers — Story of Earl St. confided in all throughout Scotland as the most powerful counter charm.” vol. i. his chance of . the events of any man's career. * Law's “Memorialls. the queen of mystic sciences. * The precognition is the record of the preliminary evidence on which the public officers charged in Scotland with duties entrusted to a grand jury in England. chiromancy. by two cuts in the form of a cross on the witch's forehead. and other fantastic arts of prediction afforded each its mystical assistance and guidance.” * See Fountainhall's “ Decisions. incur the responsibility of sending an accused person to trial. 15. Lamb — Dr. Esq. discovered by a Ghost — Disturbances at Woodstock. 93. Veal's Ghost — Dunton's Apparition Evidence — Effect of Appropriate Scenery to Encourage a Tendency to Superstition — Differs at distant Periods of Life — Night at Glammis Castle about 1791 — Visit to Dunvegan in 1814. p. But the road most flattering to human vanity. Forman — Establishment of the Royal Society — Partridge — Connexion of Astrologers with Elementary Spirits — Dr. p. Sharpe. commanding a view from a loftier quarter of the same terra incognita . Other Mystic Arts independent of Witchcraft — Astrology — Its Influence during the 16th and 17th Centuries — Base Ignorance of those who practised it — Lilly's History of his Life and Times — Astrologer's Society — Dr.” edited by C.: Prefatory Notice. * Drawing blood. K. that is. WHILE the vulgar endeavoured to obtain a glance into the darkness of futurity by consulting the witch or fortune-teller. Physiognomy. This was represented as accessible by several routes. anno 1649 — Imposture called the Stockwell Ghost — Similar Case in Scotland — Ghost appearing to an Exciseman — Story of a Disturbed House discovered by the firmness of the Proprietor — Apparition at Plymouth — A Club of Philosophers — Ghost Adventure of a Farmer — Trick upon a Veteran Soldier — Ghost Stories recommended by the Skill of the Authors who compose them — Mrs. was that of astrology. LETTER X. the great were supposed to have a royal path of their own.may remind the reader of Cazotte's “Diable Amoureux.

Almost all the other paths of mystic knowledge led to poverty. But the pursuits of the astrologer were such as called for instant remuneration. must soon have discovered its delusive vanity through the splendour of its professions. if sometimes they were elevated into rank and fortune. whose responses were. the science was little pursued by those who. instead of starving. though talking loud and high of the endless treasures his art was to produce. who made pretensions to astrology. was all that was necessary to enable the astrologer to erect a scheme of the position of the heavenly bodies. always forward and assuming. pretended to understand and explain to others the language of the stars. present. and almost without exception describes them as profligate. his advance in favour of the great. making thus a distinction betwixt the art as commonly practised and the manner in which it might. and to come. with all its changes. Such being the case. whose knowledge was imposition. as he was called. and we find that in the sixteenth century the cultivation of this fantastic science was the serious object of men whose understandings and acquirements admit of no question. lived from day to day and from year to year upon hopes as unsubstantial as the smoke of his furnace. was sufficiently fitted to dupe others. upon the silly fools who consulted them. abandoned to vice. if even Bacon could have taught such moderation. were more frequently found classed with rogues and vagabonds. and that artist lived by duping others. which he might be anxious to propound. But a grave or sober use of this science. sharking cheats. worthless. This. like the oracles of yore. past. by the grossest frauds. grounded on the desire of deceit. The natural consequence of the degraded character of the professors was the degradation of the art itself. and from the time of Wallenstein to that of Buonaparte. as they were termed. Lilly himself. and imposing. inflamed by hopes of temporal aggrandizement. or Native. would not have suited the temper of those who. ambition and success have placed confidence in the species of fatalism inspired by a belief of the influence of their own star. be made a proper use of. and some knowledge by rote of the terms of art. or answer any other horary questions. who wrote the history of his own life and times.success in life or in marriage. which should disclose the life of the interrogator. The wisest men have been cheated by the idea that some supernatural influence upheld and guided them. and who. Imagination was dazzled by a prospect so splendid. in the sixteenth and greater part of the seventeenth centuries. a low-born ignorant man. . From what we learn of his own history. by duping himself. even the alchemist. as he conceived. notices in that curious volume the most distinguished persons of his day. provided always he could supply the exact moment of his birth. Lilly. with some gloomy shades of fanaticism in his temperament. This was the more apt to be the case that a sufficient stock of impudence. and the place of such calm and disinterested pursuers of truth was occupied by a set of men sometimes ingenious. Bacon himself allowed the truth which might be found in a wellregulated astrology. faithful in their remarks and reports. like others. He became rich by the eager hopes and fond credulity of those who consulted him. were all the store of information necessary for establishing a conjurer.

Once a year. was inclined to cherish astrology. as now. were both equally curious to know. by which name were still distinguished those who encouraged the pursuit of mystical prescience. lovers of the mathematics. some of the astrological tracts devised by men of less cunning. Dr. as representing the most horrid spells. The astrologers embraced different sides of the Civil War. In the villanous transaction of the poisoning of Sir Thomas Overbury. Congreve's picture of a man like Foresight.and perhaps cheated himself merely by perusing. He was dead before the affair broke out. doubtless. who. seldom failed to attend. another professor of the same sort with Lamb. and the king on one side. and in 1660 this did not prevent his foreseeing the restoration of Charles II. where the knaves were patronised by the company of such fools as claimed the title of Philomaths — that is. patronised by the Duke of Buckingham. who was consulted by the Countess of Essex on the best mode of conducting her guilty intrigue with the Earl of Somerset. Others of the audience only saw in them the baby figures on which the dressmakers then. though coming from such unworthy authority. When the cause was tried. which were viewed by one party with horror. than he himself might boast. and eager to believe. the astrologers had a public dinner or feast. what Lilly. But the astrologers of the 17th century did not confine themselves to the stars. the dupe of astrology and its sister arts. It was even said that the devil was about to pull down the court-house on their being discovered. though perhaps more pretence to science. Wharton. for Aubrey and Ashmole both called themselves his friends. In the time of the Commonwealth he foresaw the perpetual destruction of the monarchy. were accustomed to expose new fashions. No person could better discover from various omens the course of Charles's misfortunes. with the exception only of the principal parties. being persons extremely credulous. respecting the mystic arts. and his maid-servant. which might otherwise have cost him the gibbet. . hanged as a witch at Salisbury. in King James's time. He maintained some credit even among the better classes. Lilly was a prudent person. Elias Ashmole. nay. contriving with some address to shift the sails of his prophetic bark so as to suit the current of the time. and as quacks sold potions for the most unworthy purposes. some little puppets were produced in court. and the gale of fortune. they were scandalous as panders. as it did all others concerned. Yet the public still continue to swallow these gross impositions. with the Parliamentary leaders on the other. Lamb. or Gadbury had discovered from the heavens touching the fortune of the strife. thirteen years afterwards. at an advanced period of life. For such reasons the common people detested the astrologers of the great as cordially as they did the more vulgar witches of their own sphere. the atrocious authors of the crime. so soon as they had come to pass. the ” most honourable Esquire. like other overgrown favourites. Forman. the most opposite possible to exact science. much mention was made of the art and skill of Dr. There was no province of fraud which they did not practise. too. several men of sense and knowledge honoured this rendezvous. was in 1640 pulled to pieces in the city of London by the enraged populace.” to whom Lilly's life is dedicated. was then common in society.

by the report of one Kelly who acted as his viewer. one of which. during the course of the intrigue respecting the diamond necklace in which the late Marie Antoinette was so unfortunately implicated. Dee. under the title of Nestor Ironside. Dismissing this general class of impostors. that I may dispense with being very particular regarding it. It is remarkable that the sage himself did not pretend to see the spirit. though denying the use of all necromancy — that is unlawful or black magic — pretended always to a correspond. If I am rightly informed. and render answers to such questions as the viewer should propose. ence with the various spirits of the elements. had a stone of this kind. was entrusted to a third party. common to all the countries of Europe. Some superstition of the same kind was introduced by the celebrated Count Cagliostro. but the task of viewer. much less to adventurers of later date who have obtained settlements in the Green Isle. They affirmed they could bind to their service. a mirror. Of these. the name of Philomath. and is never ascribed to any descendant of the proudest Norman or boldest Saxon who followed the banner of Earl Strongbow. Dr. to assume the character of an astrologer. once a shoemaker. and is said to have been imposed upon concerning the spirits attached to it. and compel it to appear when called. but now restricted to those which continue to be inhabited by an undisturbed and native race. His show-stone or mirror is still preserved among other curiosities in the British Museum. one of the most beautiful is the Irish fiction which assigns to certain families of ancient descent and distinguished rank the privilege of a Banshie. This dishonoured science has some right to be mentioned in a “ Treatise on Demonology. or reader. assumed by these persons and their clients. When Sir Richard Steele set up the paper called the Guardian. sylph. I believe you will find that this. is one of the last occasions in which astrology has afforded even a jest to the good people of England. but at the time the conductor of an Astrological Almanack. which was supported with great humour by Swift and other wags. or a stone. The unfortunate Dee was ruined by his associates both in fortune and reputation. had a natural operation in bringing the latter into discredit. dedicated to far different purposes than the pursuits of astrology. perhaps. while she announces the approaching death of some one of the destined race. some fairy. The subject has been so lately and beautifully investigated and illustrated by Mr. announcing the death of a person called Partridge. and although the credulity of the ignorant and uninformed continued to support some pretenders to that science. the distinction of a banshie is only allowed to families of the pure Milesian stock. led to a controversy. . an excellent mathematician. began to sink under ridicule and contempt. Crofton Croker and others. he chose. their actions and answers. on the principles of the Rosicrucian philosophy. a boy or girl usually under the years of puberty. with Swift's Elegy on the same person. or salamander. whose office it is to appear. and imprison in a ring. we come now briefly to mention some leading superstitions once. as she is called. or household fairy.” because the earlier astrologers. seemingly mourning. and issued predictions accordingly. who are now seldom heard of.The erection of the Royal Society.

by the residence of a Brownie. were not limited to announcing the dissolution of those whose days were numbered. Amongst them. who refused. The Highlanders contrived to exact from them other points of service. when he brewed. is that of an ancestor of the family of MacLean of Lochbuy. or. that a young man in the Orkneys ” used to brew. he abandoned the inhospitable house. was Bodsbeck in Moffatdale. at others. where his services had so long been faithfully rendered. and thus. as it was styled. whereupon the first and second brewings were spoilt. and sometimes read upon his Bible. where he served under Lord Wellington. This spirit was easily banished. however. which. The first and second brewings failed. are too limited. Thus. they would get no more service of Brownie. when Brownie lost the perquisite to which he had been so long accustomed. being better instructed from that book. James Hogg. sometimes as warding off dangers of battle. though much shocked. The spectre is said to have rode his rounds and uttered his death-cries within these few years. the self-instructed genius of Ettrick Forest. but many of the simple inhabitants could little see the prudence of parting with such a useful domestic drudge. and too much obliterated from recollection. however. but of the third broust. without fee and reward. yet in a little time it left off working. or the best card to be played at any other game. we are informed by Brand. food or raiment. Of a meaner origin and occupation was the Scottish Brownie. hired away. or benefited. for though the wort wrought well. announcing the event by cries and lamentations.” Another story of the same kind is told of a lady in Uist. and grew cold. the usual sacrifice to this domestic spirit. Among those spirits who have deigned to vouch their existence by appearance of late years. to whom an old woman in the house said. but the third succeeded. to call for special discussion. These particular superstitions. but he. and point out the fittest move to be made at chess. and for no use. as guarding and protecting the infant heir through the dangers of childhood. by the offer of clothes or food. on religious grounds. already mentioned as somewhat resembling Robin Goodfellow in the frolicsome days of Old England. he had ale very good.Several families of the Highlands of Scotland anciently laid claim to the distinction of an attendant spirit who performed the office of the Irish banshie. which was Brownie's eyesore and the object of his wrath. The last place in the south of Scotland supposed to have been honoured. in consequence of which the family and clan. The general faith in fairies has already . that Brownie was displeased with that book he read upon. who served faithfully. with whom afterwards they were no more troubled. the functions of this attendant genius. Neither was it all times safe to reject Brownie's assistance. were in no way surprised to hear by next accounts that their gallant chief was dead at Lisbon. which has been the subject of an entertaining tale by Mr. or brewing. would not suffer any sacrifice to be given to Brownie. if he continued to do. and sometimes as condescending to interfere even in the sports of the chieftain. whose form and appearance differed in different cases. though he would not give any sacrifice to Brownie. Before the death of any of his race the phantom-chief gallops along the sea-beach near to the castle.

or which have been imprinted in our minds with indelible strength by some striking circumstances touching our meeting in life. from averring that such tales are necessarily false. and their frequent apparition. with his usual felicity. It would indeed be a solecism in manners. and may have good reason for doing so. considers the existence of ghosts. the countenance of a murdered person is engraved upon the recollection of his slayer. Hence Lucretius himself. and in one or other of these causes. the evidence with respect to such apparitions is very seldom accurately or distinctly questioned. but something remains to be said upon another species of superstition. the most absolute of sceptics. The son does not easily forget the aspect of an affectionate father. It is easy to suppose the visionary has been imposed upon by a lively dream. so deeply rooted also in human belief. because we are confident that those who relate them on their own authority actually believe what they assert. so general that it may be called proper to mankind in every climate. the excitation of a powerful imagination. to say nothing of a system of deception which may in many instances be probable.” Nothing appears more simple at the first view of the subject. in the exact resemblance of the person while alive. even the very form and features of a person with whom we have been long conversant. for whether the cause of delusion exists in an excited imagination or a disordered organic system. A thousand additional circumstances. in perfect similitude. In truth. being detached by death. As he will not allow of the existence of the human soul. continues to wander near the place of sepulture. therefore. a waking reverie. applies with peculiar force to the belief of ghosts. we apprehend a solution will be found for all cases of what are called real ghost stories. far too obvious to require recapitulation. and at the same time cannot venture to question the phenomena supposed to haunt the repositories of the dead. than that human memory should recall and bring back to the eye of the imagination.undergone our consideration. he is obliged to adopt the belief that the body consists of several coats like those of an onion. has called the belief in ghosts ” the last lingering fiction of the brain. All that we have formerly said respecting supernatural appearances in general. Crabbe. render the supposed apparition of the dead the most ordinary spectral phenomenon which is ever believed to occur among the living. or the misrepresentation of a diseased organ of sight. as facts so undeniable that he endeavours to account for them at the expense of assenting to a class of phenomena very irreconcilable to his general system. it is in this way that it commonly exhibits itself. Mr. something like that of impeaching the genuine value of . though there is no real phantom after all. and that the outmost and thinnest. for reasons opposite but equally powerful. A supernatural tale is in most cases received as an agreeable mode of amusing society. and. that it is found to survive in states of society during which all other fictions of the same order are entirely dismissed from influence. We have said there are many ghost stories which we do not feel at liberty to challenge as impostures. We are far. and he would be rather accounted a sturdy moralist than an entertaining companion who should employ himself in assailing its credibility.

In every point the evidence of such a second-hand retailer of the mystic story must fall under the adjudged case in an English court. he answers it on the hasty suggestion of his own imagination. under such circumstances. from the person to whom it has happened.” Yet it is upon the credit of one man. It is a rare occurrence. But in such instances shades of mental aberration have afterwards occurred. some unimportant question with respect to the apparition. Upon the evidence of such historians we might as well believe the portents of ancient or the miracles of modern Rome. than to the pure service of unadorned truth. The nearest approximation which can be generally made to exact evidence in this case. In estimating the truth or falsehood of such stories it is evident we can derive no proofs from that period of society when men affirmed boldly and believed stoutly all the wonders which could be coined or fancied. even from the most candid and honourable persons. but most likely from his family. he is in danger of receiving answers. and this with perfect unconsciousness on his own part. however. For example. That such stories are believed and told by grave historians. who have told it successively to each other. which are rather fitted to support the credit of the story which they stand committed to maintain. wise. indeed.” said his lordship. or being well acquainted with the outside of the mansion in the inside of which the ghost appeared. is the word of some individual who has had the story. only shows that the wisest men cannot rise in all things above the general ignorance of their age. Summon him hither. we read in . and resolute persons. and if in any case he presumes to do so. however agreeable to our love of the wonderful and the horrible. which my office compels me to reject. but your communication is mere hearsay. This difficulty will appear greater should a company have the rare good fortune to meet the person who himself witnessed the wonders which he tells. The narrator is asked. and will incline me always to feel alarmed in behalf of the continued health of a friend who should conceive himself to have witnessed such a visitation. and by doing so often gives a feature of minute evidence which was before wanting. it may be. tinged as it is with belief of the general fact. and that in the case of able. abstain from using the rules of cross-examination practised in a court of justice. ” the ghost is an excellent witness. of whose veracity I had every reason to be confident. The judge stopped a witness who was about to give an account of the murder upon trial. such instances. that we are often expected to believe an incident inconsistent with the laws of Nature.the antiquities exhibited by a good-natured collector for the gratification of his guests. but he cannot be heard by proxy in this court. “ Hold. Far more commonly the narrator possesses no better means of knowledge than that of dwelling in the country where the thing happened. sir. for example. as it was narrated to him by the ghost of the murdered person. and I'll hear him in person. or some friend of the family. who pledges it upon that of three or four persons. which sufficiently accounted for the supposed apparitions. and his evidence the best possible. to find an opportunity of dealing with an actual ghost-seer. candid. a well-bred or prudent man will. I have certainly myself met with.

you observe. might be tempted to give him his advice. It is true that the general wish to believe.Clarendon of the apparition of the ghost of Sir George Villiers to an ancient dependant. and. I may mention. and authenticate the tale by the mention of some token known to him as a former retainer of the family. who demanded it as a proof of his mission. if we suppose that the incident was not a mere pretext to obtain access to the Duke's car. with a thousand different circumstances. at a time when such stories were believed by all the world. Vincent. This is told as a real story. It is the same with all those that are called accredited ghost stories usually told at the fireside. entirely the not unreasonable supposition that Towers. it might be time to enquire whether Lord St. and still farther. of which we are not told the import. in order to detect the cause of certain nocturnal disturbances which took place in a certain mansion. The result of his lordship's vigil is said to have been that he heard the noises without being able to detect the causes. This is no doubt a story told by a grave author. might not be in some degree tinged with their tendency to superstition. But who has heard or seen an authentic account from Earl St. with a friend. because they had already sufficient grounds of conviction. or from his ” companion of the watch. Ricketts. his lordship might not advise his sister . Or. as an old servant of his house. having ascertained the existence of disturbances not immediately or easily detected. as one of the class of tales I mean. The Duke was superstitious. The manner in which he had provoked the fury of the people must have warned every reflecting person of his approaching fate. but does it follow that our reason must acquiesce in a statement so positively contradicted by the voice of Nature through all her works ? The miracle of raising a dead man was positively refused by our Saviour to the Jews. whether. the messenger may have been impressed upon by an idle dream — in a word. numberless conjectures might be formed for accounting for the event in a natural way. who watched. as they believed them not. rather than power of believing. it was not unnatural that a faithful friend should take this mode of calling his attention to his perilous situation. has given some such stories a certain currency in society. or whatever was the ghost-seer's name. it was irresistibly argued by the Divine Person whom they tempted. Vincent. and insisted on his sister giving up the house. They want evidence. The house was under lease to Mrs. When the particulars are precisely fixed and known. that neither would they believe if one arose from the dead. the age considered.” or from his lordship's sister? And as in any other case such sure species of direct evidence would be necessary to prove the facts. amid the other eminent qualities of a first-rate seaman. his sister. Shall we suppose that a miracle refused for the conversion of God's chosen people was sent on a vain errand to save the life of a profligate spendthrift ? I lay aside. Vincent. desirous to make an impression upon Buckingham. in the character of his father's spirit. and. it seems unreasonable to believe such a story on slighter terms. the most extravagant of which is more probable than that the laws of Nature were broken through in order to give a vain and fruitless warning to an ambitious minion. that of the late Earl St. and the ready dupe of astrologers and soothsayers. a whole night. it is said.

Clerk's consent. from a passenger in the mail-coach. from the mention of respectable names as the parties who witnessed the vision. although. the signatures are forged after all. and of course had it in his own power to ascertain the execution of the prediction. has been always quoted as a true story. as also by whom. That the house was disturbed seems to be certain. in my mind. The story of two highly respectable officers in the British army. chief clerk to the jury Court. prophesying his own death within a few minutes. And no doubt it must happen that the transpiring of incidents. There is. in America. scarcely two. and bearing creditable names on their front. But we are left without a glimpse when. But it is still more credible that a whimsical man should do so wild a thing. by any means exclude the probability that the disturbance and appearances were occasioned by the dexterous management of some mischievously-disposed persons. even of those who pretend to the best information. but the circumstances (though very remarkable) did not. Another such story. or conceived that they saw. The remarkable circumstance of Thomas. To this list other stories of the same class might be added. and in what manner.rather to remove than to remain in a house so haunted. is also one of those accredited ghost tales. or barrack. walk through society unchallenged. having gained a certain degree of currency in the world. or at least induces him to abstain from challenging them as false. indeed. than that a messenger should be sent from the dead to tell a libertine at what precise hour he should expire. apparitions which were invisible to others. should have chosen to play such a trick on his friends. when he first learned it. With Mr. this story obtained its currency. the second Lord Lyttelton. although all agree in the general event. an unwillingness very closely to examine such subjects. now nearly thirty years ago. Edinburgh. tell the story in the same way. contributes to the increase of such stories — which do accordingly sometimes meet us in a shape of veracity difficult to question. in which men have actually seen. is so far better borne out than those I have mentioned. that the unfortunate nobleman had previously determined to take poison. for the secret fund of superstition in every man's bosom is gratified by believing them to be true. But it is sufficient to show that such stories as these. But of late it has been said and published. in which the name of a lady of condition is made use of as having seen an apparition in a country-seat in France. though he might believe that poachers or smugglers were the worst ghosts by whom it was disturbed. how. like bills through a bank when they bear respectable indorsations. The following story was narrated to me by my friend. who are supposed to have seen the spectre of the brother of one of them in a hut. it maybe. William Clerk. which attain a sort of brevet rank as true. who meditated his exit from the world. and in what terms. upon the information of an apparition. Mr. It was no doubt singular that a man. that I have seen a narrative of the circumstances attested by the party principally concerned. I gave the story at that time to . it was first circulated. and among the numbers by whom it has been quoted.

and more especially as the friend to whom it was originally communicated is one of the most accurate. intelligent. The man died. however. fired. called Bill Jones. dislike. with a seafaring man of middle age and respectable appearance. in the mail-coach.” and he spoke this in a deep and serious manner. during which he was very violent. of which town he seemed to be a native. He then told his story as I now relate it.” The captain. and returned with a blunderbuss loaded with slugs. abused the seaman as a lubberly rascal. It was about the eventful year 1800. implying that he felt deeply what he was saying. an elderly man. found himself in company. which confirmed . The man made a saucy answer. on which. and acute persons whom I have known in the course of my life. but subject to fits of humour.” replied the sailor. with the license which sailors take on merchant vessels. “ I wish we may have good luck on our journey — there is a magpie. and cruel. on a journey to London. in return.” This conversation led Mr. and a sufferer by the embargo. the narrative is better calculated for prose than verse. or some such name. ” but all the world agrees that one magpie bodes bad luck — two are not so bad. Our mariner had in his youth gone mate of a slave vessel from Liverpool. and see how much fat he had got. since he credited such auguries. and said. there was one ghost at least which he had seen repeatedly. I never saw three magpies but twice. and was hurt. His body was actually thrown into the slave-kettle. and passion. so. “ And if I do. and the second I fell from a horse. In the course of the desultory conversation which takes place on such occasions the seaman observed. but I will never leave you. “ I cannot tell you that. evidently dying. who announced himself as master of a vessel in the Baltic trade. I am willing to preserve the precise story in this place. was very apt to return. and stretched on the deck. with a naïveté . who published it with a ghost-ballad which he adjusted on the same theme. with which he took deliberate aim at the supposed mutineer. he confessed that. if he could believe his own eyes. and said he would have him thrown into the slave-kettle. On one occasion Bill Jones appeared slow in getting out on the yard to hand a sail. From the minuteness of the original detail. The captain of the vessel was a man of a variable temper. The man was handed down from the yard. sometimes kind and courteous to his men. Clerk to observe that he supposed he believed also in ghosts.” ” And why should that be unlucky?” said my friend. The captain. according to custom. swore at him for a fat lubber. and mortally wounded him. the captain ran down to his cabin. where they made food for the negroes. and the narrator observed. “ I may have my own reasons for doing. He fixed his eyes on the captain. in a towering passion. He seldom spoke to this person without threats and abuse. tyrannical. that my friend Mr. who got fat by leaving his duty to other people. William Clerk. but three are the devil. On being further urged. “ Sir. almost amounting to mutiny.poor Mat Lewis. and once I had near lost my vessel. in compliance with a common superstition. you have done for me. He took a particular dislike at one sailor aboard. which the old man.” said the sailor. when the Emperor Paul laid his ill-judged embargo on British trade.

The captain only shook his head gloomily. who was now in a sort of favour. that if the captain apprehended any bad consequences from what had happened. When just about to sink he seemed to make a last exertion. and reiterated his determination to leave the ship.the extent of his own belief in the truth of what he told. but he is always by my side. “ what sort of hand we have got on board with us. At length the captain invited the mate.” The mate replied that his leaving the vessel while out of the sight of any land was impossible. and leave him. In this interview he assumed a very grave and anxious aspect. and whether his companion considered him as at all times rational. but want of time and other circumstances prevented Mr. but he took no notice of it for some time. “ I need not tell you. he should run for the west of France or Ireland. He told me he would never leave me. and there go ashore. to carry the vessel into Liverpool. and I have resolved to leave you. saw that the captain had thrown himself into the sea from the quarter-gallery. and was running astern at the rate of six knots an hour. Bill is with me now !” and then sunk. especially if a sail was to be handed. At this moment the mate was called to the deck for some purpose or other. “ There was not much fat about him after all.” The captain told the crew they must keep absolute silence on the subject of what had passed. and the instant he got up the companion-ladder he heard a splash in the water. After hearing this singular story Mr. Jack. not unnatural in their situation. The sailor seemed struck with the question. After a day or two he came to the mate. You only see him now and then. that might to a certain degree have verified the . who was tired of close confinement in that sultry climate. Thus they held on their course homeward with great fear and anxiety. and demanded if he had an intention to deliver him tip for trial when the vessel got home. and looking over the ship's side.” he said. calling. after a moment's delay. Clerk asked some questions about the captain. to be seen no more. and as the mate was willing to give an explicit and absolute promise. dared not call his attention to it. He advised. and answered. The narrator had seen this apparition himself repeatedly — he believed the captain saw it also. It would have been desirable to have been able to ascertain how far this extraordinary tale was founded on fact. and obtained his liberty. to go down to the cabin and take a glass of grog with him. that the ghost of the dead man appeared among them when they a had a spell of duty. and clasped his hands towards the mate. he ordered him to be confined below. and the crew. terrified at the violent temper of the man. At this very moment I see him — I am determined to bear it no longer. that in general he conversationed well enough. spoke his commander fair. “ By — . and never out of my sight. sprung half out of the water. Clerk from learning the names and dates. on which occasion the spectre was sure to be out upon the yard before any of the crew. and he has kept his word. When he mingled among the crew once more he found them impressed with the idea. The mate. the mate.

The waiter summoned him accordingly. desiring to be called when the first Portsmouth coach came. He was afloat for several years. and the tale to have been truly told. and avail himself of some balance of money to make his escape. and other charges which fell within his duty.” Matcham went to the seaport by file coach. I am. tolerably correct in the details. was the name of my hero — was pay-sergeant in a regiment. which made considerable noise about twenty years ago or more. and this perhaps under some shade of suspicion. might have made the fortune of a romancer. amongst whom was Jarvis Matcham. and behaved remarkably well in some actions. properly detailed. the victim of remorse. If the fellow-traveller of Mr. and some of the crew. as congenial to this story. were dismissed as too old for service. Matcham perceived discovery was at hand. In the desperation of his crime he resolved to murder the poor boy. He meditated this wickedness the more readily that the drummer. and would have deserted had it not been for the presence of a little drummer lad. and accompanied with such vivid lightning and thunder so dreadfully loud. as the captain was a man of a passionate and irritable disposition. He perpetrated his crime. another instance of a guilt-formed phantom. when he shook the guest by the shoulder. especially as lie was compelled to avoid communicating his sentiments with any one else. was paid off. there was nothing more likely to arise among the ship's company than the belief in the apparition. but long after remembered that. I know not which. his first words as he awoke were: “ My God ! I did not kill him. Jarvis Matcham — such. where he halted and went to bed. should participate in the horrible visions of those less concerned. bounty of recruits (then a large sum). and instantly entered as an able-bodied landsman or marine. who was the only one of his party appointed to attend him. He expressed more terror than seemed natural for one who was familiar with the war of elements. though I have lost the account of the trial. and changing his dress after the deed was done. where he was so highly esteemed as a steady and accurate man that he was permitted opportunity to embezzle a considerable part of the money lodged in his hands for pay of soldiers. made a long walk across the country to an inn on the Portsmouth road. and began to look . and the catastrophe would in such a case be but the natural consequence of that superstitious remorse which has conducted so many criminals to suicide or the gallows. he thought. At length the vessel came into Plymouth. The tale. had been put as a spy on him. Granting the murder to have taken place. he must at least be admitted to have displayed a singular talent for the composition of the horrible in fiction. His sobriety and attention to duty gained him the same good opinion of the officers in his new service which he had enjoyed in the army. I cannot forbear giving you. it was nowise improbable that he. He was summoned to join his regiment from a town where he had been on the recruiting service.events. I think. It was when within two or three miles of this celebrated city that they were overtaken by a tempest so sudden. that the obdurate conscience of the old sinner began to be awakened. if I am not mistaken. and took the route by Salisbury. He and another seaman resolved to walk to town. Clerk be not allowed this degree of credit.

and added that. as he would desire a shipmate to profit by his fate. as we are informed by the facetious Captain Grose. with a tone of mystery and fear. and made a full confession of his guilt. and Alexander Bain . but rather advert to at least an equally abundant class of ghost stories. The criminal fetched a deep groan. the influence of superstitious fear may be the appointed means of bringing the criminal to repentance for his own sake. full evidence had been procured from other quarters. in which the apparition is pleased not to torment the actual murderer. but proceeds in a very circuitous manner. The prisoner denied his confession. so much to the terror of his comrade that he conjured him. “ But what is worse. But occasionally cases occur like the following. infected by the superstition of his associate. The sailor complied. as he thought. with respect to which it is more difficult. however.and talk so wildly that his companion became aware that something more than usual was the matter. the truth of the vision on Salisbury Plain. Jarvis Matcham was found guilty and executed. and to punishment for the advantage of society. who. he wished his comrade to deliver him up to the magistrates of Salisbury. and with his dying breath averred and truly. But before the trial the love of life returned. There would be no edification and little amusement in treating of clumsy deceptions of this kind. to use James Boswell's phrase. By this time. showing plainly that. so I shall dwell on them no further. as a considerable reward had been offered. He desired the man to walk on the other side of the highway to see if they would follow him when he was alone. if he had anything on his mind.” he added. “ to know what to think. alias Clark. and what business has he to follow us so closely ?” ” I can see no one. Having overcome his friend's objections to this mode of proceeding. He then confessed the murder of the drummer. Duncan Terig. In this respect we must certainly allow that ghosts have.” Upon the 10th of June. and Jarvis Matcham complained that the stones still flew after him and did not pursue the other. Similar stories might be produced. under the direction of Heaven. and whispering. When his last chance of life was over he returned to his confession. “ What! not see that little boy with the bloody pantaloons !” exclaimed the secret murderer. Jarvis Matcham was surrendered to justice accordingly.” answered the seaman. and declared that he was unable longer to endure the life which he had led for years. and pleaded Not Guilty. Cases of this kind are numerous and easily imagined. Witnesses appeared from his former regiment to prove his identity with the murderer and deserter. forms and customs peculiar to themselves. “ who is that little drummer-boy. 1754. At length Matcham complained to his companion that the stones rose from the road and flew after him. to make a clear conscience as far as confession could do it. though perhaps unacquainted with all the parties. acquainting some stranger or ignorant old woman with the particulars of his fate. coming up to his companion. and the waiter remembered the ominous words which he had spoken when he awoke him to join the Portsmouth coach. is directed by a phantom to lay the facts before a magistrate. which he was now convinced was inevitable. where the grossness of the imposture detects itself.

and requested him to go and bury his mortal remains. the appearance told the witness he was the ghost of Sergeant Davis. and there found the bones of a human body much decayed. The witness. “ As good Gaelic as I ever heard in Lochaber. straggling far from assistance. for. were tried before the Court of justiciary. who was himself ignorant of English. and when they were without the cottage. Edinburgh. who gave the following extraordinary account of his cause of knowledge: — He was. after this second visitation. the apparition of the ghost being admitted. Believing his visitor to be one Farquharson. so there existed too many reasons on account of which an English soldier. speaking no language but Gaelic. and buried the body. the witness did as he was bid. although their counsel and solicitor and most of the court were satisfied of their having committed the murder. he said. a person who slept in one of the beds which run along the wall in an ordinary Highland hut. and received for answer that he had been slain by the prisoners at the bar.” “ Pretty well for the ghost of an English sergeant. who found the accused parties not guilty. on the 28th September. and sworn by an interpreter). sergeant in Guise's regiment. the story of the apparition threw an air of ridicule on the whole evidence for the prosecution. which lay concealed in a place he pointed out in a moorland tract called the Hill of Christie.” answered the counsel. At length. 1749. Farquharson was brought in evidence to prove that the preceding witness. the embers of which were still reeking. and told him the same story which he repeated in court. MacPherson. in consequence of which negligence the sergeant's ghost again appeared to him. an account of the murder appeared from the evidence of one Alexander MacPherson (a Highlander. however. and although there were other strong presumptions against the prisoners. Yet there may be various modes of explaining this mysterious story. had called him to the burial of the bones. called the assistance of Farquharson. without any certainty as to his fate. might be privately cut off by the inhabitants of these wilds. declared that upon the night when MacPherson said he saw the ghost.MacDonald. It was followed up by the counsel for the prisoners asking. in bed in his cottage. The witness did not at that time bury the bones so found. On this occasion the witness asked the ghost who were the murderers. It imposed. He desired him to take Farquharson with him as an assistant. upbraiding him with his breach of promise. “ What language did the ghost speak in ?” The witness. In this case the interference of the ghost seems to have rather impeded the vengeance which it was doubtless the murdered sergeant's desire to obtain. Isabel MacHardie. of which the . It appears that Sergeant Davis was missing for years. Next day the witness went to the place specified. The inference was rather smart and plausible than sound. on the jury. a neighbour and friend. to rise and follow him out of doors. replied. we know too little of the other world to judge whether all languages may not be alike familiar to those who belonged to it. for the murder of Arthur Davis. when an apparition came to his bedside and commanded him. The accident happened not long after the civil war. Yet though the supernatural incident was thus fortified. she saw a naked man enter the house and go towards MacPherson's bed. in the cross-examination of MacPherson. two Highlanders.

retreated from Woodstock without completing an errand which was. but which carne and passed as mere earthly dogs cannot do. It is therefore of the last consequence. We shall separately notice an instance or two of either kind. as they thought. or the author of the legend. from motives of remorse for the action. after the Restoration. The reader may suppose that MacPherson was privy to the fact of the murder. knowing well that his superstitious countrymen would pardon his communicating the commission entrusted to him by a being from the other world. impeded by infernal powers. considering that all the fiends of hell were let loose upon them. To have informed against Terig and MacDonald might have cost MacPherson his life. in exact conformity with the sentiments of the Highlanders on such subjects. and it is far from being impossible that he had recourse to the story of the ghost. Thunder and lightning came next. 13th October. determined to wipe away the memory of all that connected itself with the recollection of monarchy in England. The Commissioners arrived at Woodstock. While they were in bed the feet of their couches were lifted higher than their heads. which they had splintered into billets for burning. though the opposition offered was rather of a playful and malicious than of a dangerous cast. the remains of a very large tree called the King's Oak. in considering the truth of stories of ghosts and apparitions. in their opinion. and may also suppose that. which were set down to the same cause. The most celebrated instance in which human agency was used to copy the disturbances imputed to supernatural beings refers to the ancient palace of Woodstock. Trenchers ” without a wish” flew at their heads of free will. and then dropped with violence. But through the whole Highlands there is no character more detestable than that of an informer. discovered to be the trick of one of their . 1649. Other and worse tricks were practised on the astonished Commissioners who. and the chairs displaced and shuffled about. would reduce the whole story to a stroke of address on the part of the witness. although he might probably have been murdered if his delation of the crime had been supposed voluntary. or one who takes what is called Tascal-money. This explanation. in different shapes. Logs of wood. perhaps as an accomplice or otherwise. were tossed through the house. Their bed-chambers were infested with visits of a thing resembling a dog.following conjecture may pass for one. or reward for discovery of crimes. he entertained a wish to bring them to justice. But in the course of their progress they were encountered by obstacles which apparently came from the next world. whether on the part of those who are agents in the supposed disturbances. The whole matter was. when the Commissioners of the Long Parliament came down to dispark what had been lately a royal residence. which kicked a candlestick and lighted candle into the middle of the room. or of enmity to those who had committed it. to consider the possibility of wilful deception. and one of the party saw the apparition of a hoof. Spectres made their appearance. and then politely scratched on the red snuff to extinguish it.

dishes. On the first point I am afraid there can be no better reason assigned than the conscious pride of superiority. and were broken to pieces. Joe availed himself of his local knowledge of trap-doors and private passages so as to favour the tricks which he played off upon his masters by aid of his fellow-domestics. who had attended the Commissioners as a clerk. But although the detection or explanation of the real history of the Woodstock demons has also been published. The Commissioners' personal reliance on him made his task the more easy. flew through the room. In the year 1772. Mrs. Still greater is our modern surprise at the apparently simple means by which terror has been excited to so general an extent. Amidst this combustion. where he had been brought up before the Civil War. and under circumstances which induce us to wonder. an elderly lady. threw the utmost consternation into the village of Stockwell. and filling a household or neighbourhood with anxiety and dismay. Similar disturbances have been often experienced while it was the custom to believe in and dread such frolics of the invisible world. Plott. I have at this time forgotten whether it exists in a separate collection. near London. with little gratification to themselves besides the consciousness of dexterity if they remain undiscovered.own party. whose real name was Joseph Collins of Oxford. by Dr. and glass-ware and small movables of every kind. or where it is to be looked for. that even the wisest and most prudent have not escaped its contagious influence. This man. the monkey. I think. To this is owing the delight with which every school-boy anticipates the effects of throwing a stone into a glass shop. and I have myself seen it. and the slight motives from which they have been induced to do much wanton mischief. and it was all along remarked that trusty Giles Sharp saw the most extraordinary sights and visions among the whole party. Golding's maid. nor could she be prevailed on to sit down for a moment excepting while the family were at . Being a bold. seemed suddenly to become animated. The particulars of this commotion were as curious as the loss and damage occasioned in this extraordinary manner were alarming and intolerable. china. a train of transactions. named Anne Robinson. to which we may safely add that general love of tormenting. contained in the house of Mrs. was a concealed loyalist. a young woman. commencing upon Twelfth Day. called Funny Joe . was walking backwards and forwards. The plates. which induces the human being in all cases to enjoy and practise every means of employing an influence over his fellow-mortals. and also. and to this we must also ascribe the otherwise unaccountable pleasure which individuals have taken in practising the tricksy pranks of a goblin. and with the risk of loss of character and punishment should the imposture be found out. Golding. The unearthly terrors experienced by the Commissioners are detailed with due gravity by Sinclair. and impressed upon some of its inhabitants the inevitable belief that they were produced by invisible agents. and well acquainted with the old mansion of Woodstock. as common to our race as to that noble mimick of humanity. shifted their places. active spirited man. under the name of Giles Sharp. both at the extreme trouble taken by the agents in these impostures.

Mrs. bacon. who did not watch her motions. she dismissed her maid. on the authority of Mr. finding his movables were seized with the same sort of St. and. but they soon became unable to bear the sight of these supernatural proceedings. I remember a scene of the kind attempted to be got up near Edinburgh. known by the name of the Stockwell ghost. minister at Dunottar. in the Mearns. and many others have been successfully concealed. but. so that they fell on the slightest motion. a sort of persons whose habits of incredulity and suspicious observation render them very dangerous spectators on such occasions. . Walker. by which she could throw them down without touching them. This Anne Robinson had been but a few days in the old lady's service. Other things she dexterously threw about. pushed them farther than she at first intended. a jocular experiment upon the credulity of the public. The late excellent Mr. in which the only magic was the dexterity of Anne Robinson and the simplicity of the spectators. and the hubbub among her movables ceased at once and for ever. She next abandoned her dwelling. who persuaded Anne. and coolly advised her mistress not to be alarmed or uneasy. and had been nearly as famous as that of Cock Lane.prayers. Such was the solution of the whole mystery. and similar articles were suspended. delighted with the success of her pranks. and took refuge with a neighbour. This circumstance of itself indicates that Anne Robinson was the cause of these extraordinary disturbances. which went so far that not above two cups and saucers remained out of a valuable set of china. imputed to invisible agency. This excited an idea that she had some reason for being so composed. long after the events had happened. which the spectators. but to know what has been discovered in many instances gives us the assurance of the ruling cause in all. Hone. Golding as she might be well termed. which may be hinted at as another imposture of the same kind. terrified many wellmeaning persons. and placed wires under others. she loosened the hold of the strings by which the hams. There was a love story connected with the case. not inconsistent with a degree of connexion with what was going forward. which. her landlord reluctantly refused to shelter any longer a woman who seemed to be persecuted by so strange a subject of vexation. Brayfield. and Mr. but detected at once by a sheriff's officer. invited neighbours to stay in her house. At times. to make him her confidant. Vitus's dance. that when I first met with the original publication I was strongly impressed with the belief that the narrative was like some of Swift's advertisements. and it was remarkable that she endured with great composure the extraordinary display which others beheld with terror. when the family were absent. during which time no disturbance happened. as has been since more completely ascertained by a Mr. Golding's suspicions against Anne Robinson now gaining ground. considering such a commotion and demolition among her goods and chattels. She had fixed long horse hairs to some of the crockery. She employed some simple chemical secrets. But it was certainly published bona fide . as these things could not be helped. The afflicted Mrs. Brayfield. So many and wonderful are the appearances described. has since fully explained the wonder.* Many such impositions have been detected.

about an apparition. which. but the spectre stood before him in the bright moonlight. Here a single circumstance explained the whole ghost story. turf. in order to disguise from his vigilance the removal of certain modern enough spirits. when betaking himself to rest. of having been imposed on. Thus he lay in mortal agony for more than an hour. the other hand held up in a warning and grave posture. and recollect that it is only the frequent exhibition of such powers which reconciles us to them as matters of course. the detection depends upon the combination of certain circumstances. makes no very respectable appearance when convicted of his error. when he was awakened from a dead sleep by the pressure of a human hand on his body. and unconsciously becomes disposed rather to colour more highly than the truth. although they are wonders at which in our fathers' time men would have cried out either sorcery or miracles. with such dexterity that it was for a long time impossible to ascertain her agency in the disturbances of which she was the sole cause. practised by a young country girl. Very often. He was given to understand by the family. The belief of the spectators that such scenes of disturbance arise from invisible beings will appear less surprising if we consider the common feats of jugglers. and other missiles. where the ghost seer chanced to be resident. The scene lay in an ancient castle on the coast of Morven or the Isle of Mull. upon cross-examination. For example. At other times it happens that the meanness and trifling nature of a cause not very . it was explained that the principal person concerned was an exciseman. told him by an intelligent and bold man. too. So singular a story had on its side the usual number of votes from the company. in the antique and picturesque dress of his country. Struck with sudden and extreme fear. or professors of legerdemain. who has been himself duped. that the chamber in which he slept was occasionally disquieted by supernatural appearances. he was willing. its one arm extended so as to master him if he attempted to rise. apprehended. After which eclaireissment the same explanation struck all present. viz. who was surprisingly quick at throwing stones. to have sprung from bed. and thence. is yet unwilling to stand convicted by cross examination. until the witching hour of night.. if too candid to add to the evidence of supernatural agency. the Highlanders of the mansion had chosen to detain the exciseman by the apparition of an ancient heroic ghost. Being at that time no believer in such stories.gave me a curious account of an imposture of this kind. He looked tip at the figure of a tall Highlander. he attended little to this hint. than acquiesce in an explanation resting on his having been too hasty a believer. only that his brows were bound with a bloody bandage. till. which his duty might have called upon him to seize. after which it pleased the spectre of ancient days to leave him to more sound repose. The spectator also. as menacing the Lowlander if he should attempt to quit his recumbent position. I once heard a sensible and intelligent friend in company express himself convinced of the truth of a wonderful story. necessarily explain the whole story.

but was then obliged to drop it. It was the rule of this club that its members presided alternately. and who had begun to murmur strange things concerning the knocking having followed so close upon the death of his old master. at length the sound was heard. The gentleman resolved to watch himself. The circumstance was told me by the gentleman to whom it happened. An apparition which took place at Plymouth is well known. On one occasion. which they listened to with that strange uncertainty attending midnight sounds which prevents the hearers from immediately tracing them to the spot where they arise. Some of the members to whom the position of their own dwellings rendered this convenient. while acted upon at a distance by the imagination of the hearers. for the sake of privacy. but for the cool investigation of the proprietor. They entered this place. at a distance from the main building. who is well known in the political world. but it has been differently related. the cause of which they had found it impossible to trace. had occasioned the disturbance which. and having some reason to think the following edition correct. while the silence of the night generally occasions the imputing to them more than the due importance which they would receive if mingled with the usual noises of daylight. A club of persons connected with science and literature was formed at the great sea-town I have named. it is an incident so much to my purpose that you must pardon its insertion. and which no one could have supposed unless some particular fortune occasioned a discovery. during those of autumn and winter they convened within the premises of a tavern. A rat caught in an old-fashioned trap had occasioned this tumult by its efforts to escape. The cause was immediately discovered. had a pass-key to the garden-door. might easily have established an accredited ghost story. Shortly after he succeeded to his estate and title. The noise of the fall. by which they could enter the garden and reach the summer-house without the publicity or trouble of passing through the open tavern. and which he would be ashamed of mentioning. An incident of this sort happened to a gentleman of birth and distinction. There are other occasions in which the ghost story is rendered credible by some remarkable combination of circumstances very unlikely to have happened. with a domestic who had grown old in the family. the president of the evening chanced to be . of which the old butler had the key. had their meeting in a summer-house situated in the garden. but much lower than it had formerly seemed to be. there was a rumour among his servants concerning a strange noise heard in the family mansion at night. At length the gentleman and his servant traced the sounds which they had repeatedly heard to a small store-room used as a place for keeping provisions of various kinds for the family. since no one is willing to acknowledge that he has been alarmed by a cause of little consequence. even on account of that very meanness. in which it was able to raise the trap-door of its prison to a certain height. and was detected by the precision of his observation. in the winter. and remained there for some time without hearing the noises which they had traced thither. During the summer months the society met in a cave by the seashore. They watched until the noise was heard.obvious to observation has occasioned it to be entirely overlooked. resounding through the house. but.

naming the president whose appearance had surprised the club so strangely. on her own awaking. that immediately after the poor gentleman expired. and stalked out of the room as silent as he had entered it. to convince her hearer of the truth of what she said. she forth-with hurried out of the house to seek him. and that she felt distress of conscience on account of the manner in which he died. and the loss expected to the society by his death. This confession explained the whole matter. she said. She got him. took the vacant place of ceremony. was reported to be on his death-bed. after many observations on the strangeness of what they had seen. When. with many expressions of regret. some dubious rumours of the tale found their way to the public. who had thus strangely appeared among them. and met him in the act of returning. and on her death-bed was attended by a medical member of the philosophical club. — — . and received for answer that he was already dead. She said that as his malady was attended by light-headedness. at length. To him. which made his way shorter. indeed. bowed around. from some recollections of his duty of the night. from a sentiment of respect. and the appearance of the president entered the room. He stalked into the room with unusual gravity. The astonished party then resolved that they would remain absolutely silent respecting the wonderful sight which they had seen. the conversation turned upon the absent gentleman's talents. then replaced it on the table. she had been directed to keep a dose watch upon him during his illness. Several years afterwards. the appearance of which was that of death itself. and thus there had been time for him to return to what proved his death-bed. she acknowledged that she had long before attended Mr. and put it to his lips. lifted the empty glass which stood before him. The company remained deeply appalled. although. left vacant the chair which ought to have been occupied by him if in his usual health. On the other hand. a deputation of two members from the club came to enquire after their president's health. as usual. she found the bed empty and the patient gone. and during her sleep the patient had awaked and left the apartment. the gentlemen sent to enquire after his health had reached his lodging by a more circuitous road. an old woman who had long filled the place of a sicknurse. to see how it fared with the president. While they were upon this melancholy theme. they resolved to dispatch two of their number as ambassadors. replaced in bed. and returned with the frightful intelligence that the friend after whom they had enquired was that evening deceased. but it was only to die there. In approaching and retiring from the apartment he had used one of the pass-keys already mentioned. Unhappily she slept. The delirious patient had very naturally taken the road to the club. was taken very ill. The affair was therefore kept a strict secret. Their habits were too philosophical to permit them to believe that they had actually seen the ghost of their deceased brother. and.very ill. They went. He wore a white wrapper. and at the same time they were too wise men to wish to confirm the superstition of the vulgar by what might seem indubitable evidence of a ghost. for the same reason. the door suddenly opened. The philosophical witnesses of this . a nightcap round his brow. long before they reached his chamber. She added. The club met as usual.

He accordingly approached. The road was very narrow. and bid the servants who came to attend him. when pressed upon his. lost in the service of his sovereign. was yet one which. might have passed as an indubitable instance of a supernatural apparition. had it remained unexplained. while the figure remained. but the following may be told as a tale recounted by a foreign nobleman known to me nearly thirty years ago. When the farmer came close to the spot he dashed in the spurs and set the horse off upon a gallop. a manoeuvre which greatly increased the speed of the horse and the terror of the rider. There is also a large class of stories of this sort. and the poor farmer himself was conveyed to bed. ventriloquism. or have tended to do so through mere accident and coincidence. for the hand of her who sat behind him. “ Tak aff the ghaist !” They took off accordingly a female in white. when he saw before him in the moonlight a pale female form standing upon the very wall which surrounded the cemetery. A Teviotdale farmer was riding from a fair. at all risks. with no opportunity of giving the apparent phantom what seamen call a wide berth. Of these it is scarce necessary to quote instances. He was pondering with some anxiety upon the dangers of travelling alone on a solitary road which passed the corner of a churchyard. and the nature and cause of her malady induced her. now brandishing its arms and gibbering to the moon. it would have been very hard to have convinced the honest farmer that he had not actually performed part of his journey with a ghost behind him. felt as cold as that of a corpse. where she sometimes wildly wept over his grave. and mistook every stranger on horseback for the husband she had lost. and impress them with ideas far different from the truth. the lord to whom it belonged had determined upon giving an entertainment worthy of his own rank and of the magnificence of the antique mansion . she contrived to drop behind the horseman and seize him round the waist. who had been left a widow very suddenly by an affectionate husband. who therefore resolved. At a certain old castle on the confines of Hungary. which was very possible. however. of acoustics. when she could make her escape. standing on the corner of the churchyard wall. If this woman. It was. looked out. since it showed in what a remarkable manner men's eyes might turn traitors to them. As he passed the corner where she was perched. Another occurrence of the same kind. to wander to the churchyard. as slowly as possible. proved too short for his friends and his native land. where various secrets of chemistry. but the spectre did not miss its opportunity. the spot where the spectre stood. where he lay struggling for weeks with a strong nervous fever. The female was found to be a maniac. have been either employed to dupe the spectators. now near at hand. and sometimes. but not to that extent of defying goblins which it inspired into the gallant Tam o'Shanter. or other arts. to pass the apparition.strange scene were now as anxious to spread the story as they had formerly been to conceal it. now perfectly still and silent. whose life. although scarcely so striking in its circumstances. At his own house at length he arrived. at which he had indulged himself with John Barleycorn. had dropt from the horse unobserved by him whom she had made her involuntary companion. the only path which led to the rider's home.

represented upon the misty clouds. ladies. as he was known to be above such prejudices. but somewhat monotonous — will you be so kind as to change the tune ?” The ladies continued singing. is now ascertained by philosophers to be a gigantic reflection. a threat which his habits would. He then got seriously angry: “ I will but wait five minutes. who sung a solemn requiem. three accordingly. and repeating more than once his determination to fire. unless some one would take the risk of sleeping in a room supposed to be haunted. having left his candle burning and laid his trusty pistols.which he inhabited.” This produced as little effect as his former threats. Three ladies. The trick put upon him may be shortly described by the fact that the female choristers were placed in an adjoining room. seventeen — eighteen — nineteen. the last numbers.” he said. and as I regard it as an impertinence. he expostulated. and that he only fired at their reflection thrown forward into that in which he slept by the effect of a concave mirror. in Westmoreland and other mountainous countries. the major went to bed. retired after midnight. it was supposed. and having shared the festivity of the evening. He looked out. The major listened for some time with delight. He had not slept an hour when he was awakened by a solemn strain of music. and an assurance that the pistols were cocked. The ladies sung on. appear a colossal figure of almost immeasurable size. on the table by his bedside. When the arrangements for the night were made this officer was informed that there would be difficulty in accommodating the company in the castle. “ Ladies. fantastically dressed in green. large as was. which were in fact only the reflection of horses pasturing upon an . Other stories of the same kind are numerous and well known.” he said. “ I still give you law. “ while I count twenty. and that. Somewhat contrary to the custom in these cases. I shall take a rough mode of stopping it. The ladies sung on. were seen in the lower end of the apartment. remarkable for his bravery. render him sufficiently ready to execute. but on approaching the end of the number. The major thankfully accepted the preference. and among them was a veteran officer of hussars. but the music was not interrupted. He counted one. “ I must consider this as a trick for the purpose of terrifying me. and had an illness which lasted more than three weeks. the apartment was in the first place proposed for his occupation.” he said. “ this is very well. By a similar deception men have been induced.” he said. The guests of course were numerous. as the person least likely to suffer a bad night's rest from such a cause. were pronounced with considerable pauses between. The major began to grow angry: “ Ladies. having denounced vengeance against any one who should presume by any trick to disturb his repose. carefully loaded. “ and then fire without hesitation. at length he tired. two. to imagine they saw troops of horse and armies marching and countermarching.” The song was uninterrupted — the five minutes were expired. which makes the traveller's shadow. As he pronounced the word twenty he fired both pistols against the musical damsels — but the ladies sung on ! The major was overcome by the unexpected inefficacy of his violence.” With that he began to handle his pistols. The apparition of the Brocken mountain. after having occasioned great admiration and some fear.

Another species of deception. but as the gray light faded into darkness. and expressed his intention to watch in the apartment next night. As she stooped to gather her cabbages the reflection appeared to bend forward. He sat accordingly in his daughter's chamber. The young lady used sometimes to indulge the romantic love of solitude by sitting in her own apartment in the evening till twilight. advised his friend to prefix the celebrated narrative of Mrs. Their house was situated in the principal street of a town of some size. A very curious case of this kind was communicated to me by the son of the lady principally concerned. divided from it by a small cabbage-garden. which the supposed spirit recommended to the perusal of her friend Mrs. and nothing appeared. that although in fact it does not afford a single tittle of evidence properly so called. and even darkness. the same inclinations. with such an air of truth. so much discomposed as to call her father's attention.” and complained to Defoe of the loss which was likely to ensue. A bookseller of his acquaintance had. and that was the whole matter.opposite height. and then disappeared. the same female figure was seen hovering on the window. the same pale light around the head. a man of sense and resolution. affecting the credit of such supernatural communications. against the arched window in the end of the Anabaptist chapel. “ Anything. One evening while she was thus placed. “ rather than allow that we look upon what is supernatural. Its head was surrounded by that halo which painters give to the Catholic saints. Veal's ghost. instead of sleeping on the editor's shelf.” A strict research established a natural cause for the appearance on the window. moved off by . The back part of the house ran at right angles to an Anabaptist chapel. the figure bent gracefully towards her more than once. Bargrave.” said the father. it nevertheless was swallowed so eagerly by the people that Drelincourt's work on death. my dear. The experienced bookmaker. The seer of this striking vision descended to her family. she was surprised to see a gleamy figure. The lantern she carried in her hand threw up the refracted reflection of her form on the chapel window. and tends to show out of what mean materials a venerable apparition may be sometimes formed. or of the forms of peaceful travellers. He obtained an account of the cause of her disturbance. and while the young lady's attention was fixed on an object so extraordinary. hovering. to go out at night to gather cabbages. “ What do you think of this ?” said the daughter to the astonished father. rather overprinted an edition of ” Drelincourt on Death. to whom the garden beneath was rented. in the trade phrase. Defoe — whose power in rendering credible that which was in itself very much the reverse was so peculiarly distinguished — has not failed to show his superiority in this species of composition. as it were. with the purpose of recommending the edition. the same shadowy form. as the evening before. was approaching. Twilight came. which he wrote for the occasion. where she also attended him. as if intimating a sense of her presence. It was the custom of an old woman. as of some aerial being. arises from the dexterity and skill of the authors who have made it their business to present such stories in the shape most likely to attract belief. In youth this lady resided with her father.

Observing. that she did not move her lips in speaking. “ was a petty and inconsiderable prank to what she played in her son's house and elsewhere. and. and after her funeral was repeatedly seen in her personal likeness. and paid her the courtesy of handing her over a stile. and an admonition to pay more attention to the next aged gentlewoman whom he met. only the seamen would escape with their lives — the devil had no permission from God to take them away. He got through at length with some difficulty. Yet at this rate. be soon lost to her friends. Leckie. and he that was once worth thousands was reduced to a very . a man of scribbling celebrity at the time. and not without a sound kick. ho !' If any boatmen or seamen were in sight. and did not come. succeeded to a great degree in imposing upon the public a tale which he calls the Apparition Evidence. or her eyes in looking round. She would at noonday appear upon the quay of Mynehead. yet immediately there would arise a most dreadful storm. from her age. that would break. but this ghost would appear in the same garb and likeness as when she was alive. to fix the public attention on a ghost story. lived an ancient gentlewoman named Mrs. “ But this. and unsupported as it was by evidence or enquiry. Offended at this. One story is told of a doctor of physic walking into the fields. To which Mrs. who in his return met with this spectre. at least (for it is of great length). however. This family was generally respected in Mynehead. Leckie often made the somewhat startling reply: “ Forasmuch as you now seem to like me. They had a child about five or six years old. that her friends used to say to her. 'twas all one. by her frequent apparitions and disturbances. It did not require the talents of Defoe. no sooner did they make land. at home and abroad. would blow with a whistle. a boat. ' A boat. The beginning of it. The son traded to Ireland. whom he at first accosted civilly. and especially Mrs. the hag at next stile planted herself upon it. however. for his fair estate was all buried in the sea. by night and by noonday. and obstructed his passage. Leckie. wreck. that it was a thousand pities such an excellent. though in that species of composition he must stand unrivalled. she did. John Dunton. At Mynehead. though I believe you may have that satisfaction. and showed some desire to be rid of her society. I am afraid you will but little care to see or speak with me after my death. in Somersetshire. was received as true. merely from the cunning of the narrator. and to each other. was so pleasant in society. and was supposed to be worth eight or ten thousand pounds. the story.thousands at once. she had made a poor merchant of her son. whose only son and daughter resided in family with her. and the addition of a number of adventitious circumstances. standing at the mainmast. incredible in itself. has something in it a little new. they were cast away. good-humoured gentlewoman must. he became suspicious of the condition of his companion. Her son had several ships sailing between Ireland and England. which no man alive could have conceived as having occurred to the mind of a person composing a fiction. and cry. ho ! a boat. they were sure to be cast away and if they did come.” says John Dunton. and though it were never so great a calm. the old lady. It was equally dangerous to please and displease her. a boat. and drown the ship and goods. and come in sight of England.” Die.

a guilty and unfortunate man. which stopped her breath and strangled her. who afterwards died by the hands of the executioner. Leckie still remains in that port. she would cry out. they did all decline his service. this troublesome ghost would come as before. and bespeaks her: ' In the name of God. faith. for knowing what an uncomfortable. mother ! for grandmother will choke me !' and before they could get to their child's assistance she had murdered it they finding the poor girl dead. because I have been myself at two periods of my life. then was she gone to the right. but recollecting her affrighted spirits. but whether he did not. that it is said the tradition of Mrs. and hope. lying in a ruckle-bed under them. you may guess at their grief and great sorrow.' say's the spectrum. engaged in scenes favourable to that degree of . distant from each other. proceeds to inform us a length of a commission which the wife of Mr. see her. This cast her into a great horror. looking over her shoulder. why do you trouble me ?' ' Peace. and as she was looking into the glass she spies her mother-in-law. and the sadder and graver regions which lie beyond it. and that mariners belonging to it often. In her son's house she hath her constant haunts by day and night. and losing voyage they should make of it. cries out. and then ship and goods went all out of hand to wreck. look. ' Husband. mother. her husband being abroad. However. there's your mother !' And when he would turn to the right side. Bishop of Waterford. ' I will do thee no hurt. whistle in a calm at the mainmast at noonday. in order to enjoy some single trait of imagination.poor and low condition in the world. having cast up a short and silent prayer to God.' ' What will you have of me ?' says the daughter. dies within us when we obtain the age of manhood. father ! help me. and recovering the exercise of her reason. she turns about. conceive they hear the whistle-call of the implacable hag who was the source of so much mischief to her own family. then was she gone to the left. and now their child is gone also. it would become intolerably tedious were I to insist farther on the peculiar sort of genius by which stories of this kind may be embodied and prolonged. however. already too desultory and too long. Mrs. So deep was the impression made by the story on the inhabitants of Mynehead. ' Oh. nor any mariner to sail in them. her throat having been pinched by two fingers. insomuch that he could at last get no ships wherein to stow his goods. or would not own if he did. I may. amid tempestuous weather. add. Sometimes when in bed with his wife. when they had descried land. only one evening their only child. fatal. the narrator an probably the contriver of the story. for whether the ship were his own or hired. I am the more conscious of this. and when to the left side of the bed. help me. This was the sorest of all their afflictions. that the charm of the tale depends much upon the age of the person to whom it is addressed. about eleven in the forenoon. or he had but goods on board it to the value of twenty shillings. One morning after the child's funeral. but that part of the subject is too disagreeable and tedious to enter upon. Leckie the younger goes up into her chamber to dress her head.”&c. a girl of about five or six years old. the old beldam. Leckie receives from the ghost to deliver to Atherton. and that the vivacity of fancy which engages us in youth to pass over much that is absurd. their estate is gone. * Dunton. he always professed he never saw her.

while they were mingled at the same time with a strange and indescribable kind of pleasure. after a cruise of some duration. As the late Earl of Strathmore seldom resided in that ancient mansion.. The most modern part of the castle was founded in the days of James VI. the whole night-scene in Macbeth's castle rushed at once upon my mind. by the law or custom of the family. rise immediately above the waves of the loch. and I myself in particular. that as I heard door after door shut. though not remarkable either for timidity or superstition. but Malcolm the Second. Esq. then past middle life.superstitious awe which my countrymen expressively call being eerie. The extreme antiquity of the building is vouched by the immense thickness of the walls. did not fail to affect me to the point of being disagreeable. his heir apparent. after my conductor had retired. It contains also a curious monument of the peril of feudal times. and in that course had arrived in the salt-water lake under the castle of Dunvegan. chanced to be well known to the Laird of Macleod. and in the traditions connected with it. the entrance of which. garnished with stags' antlers and similar trophies of the chase. with whom the name naturally associates itself. then seneschal of the castle. impressive to the imagination. The hoary pile contains much in its appearance. it was. when I happened to pass a night in the magnificent old baronial castle of Glammis.. and glad to find ourselves in polished society. I had been on a pleasure voyage with some friends around the north coast of Scotland. It was the scene of the murder of a Scottish king of great antiquity. and I had an idea of the vicinity of the castle chapel. but half-furnished. and said by tradition to be the spot of Malcolm's murder.” a vaulted apartment. I must own. being a secret chamber. After a very hospitable reception from the late Peter Proctor. and the wild and straggling arrangement of the accommodation within doors.” Until the present Macleod connected by a drawbridge the site of the castle with the mainland of Skye. greatly contributed to the general effect of the whole. In spite of the truth of history. and any third person whom they may take into their confidence. must only be known to three persons at once. the access must have been extremely . the recollection of which affords me gratification at this moment. As most of the party. I experienced sensations which. and struck my imagination more forcibly than even when I have seen its terrors represented by the late John Kemble and his inimitable sister. I began to consider myself too far from the living and somewhat too near the dead. whose turrets. in a situation somewhat similar to that which I have described. which. not indeed the gracious Duncan. On the first of these occasions I was only nineteen or twenty years old. with the pieces of chivalric armour hanging upon the walls. the more ancient is referred to a period “ whose birth tradition notes not. the hereditary seat of the Earls of Strathmore. situated upon a frowning rock. In a word. viz. I was conducted to my apartment in a distant corner of the building.. and that with movables of great antiquity. in Lord Strathmore's absence. we were welcomed to the castle with Highland hospitality. the Earl of Strathmore. We had passed through what is called ” The King's Room. when I was there. In the year 1814 accident placed me.

from their form. sometimes driving mist before it. In the language of Dr Johnson. Such was the haunted room at Dunvegan. Accordingly. and will still float in the third. and as such it well deserved a less sleepy inhabitant. which argued great antiquity. because that chief slept best in its vicinity. of all I heard or saw. and wondered that I was not more affected. up which a staircase ascended from the sea-shore. Amid such tales of ancient tradition I had from Macleod and his lady the courteous offer of the haunted apartment castle. and carry off the standard-bearer. and many a superstitious legend. that in former times the only access to the mansion arose through a vaulted cavern in a rock. so much greater was the regard paid to security than to convenience. in the extremity of the Highlands. The waves rushed in wild disorder on the shore. who has stamped his memory on this remote placed. swept along the troubled billows of the lake. nothing could have been more comfortable than th interior of the apartment. which. like the buildings we read of in the romances of Mrs. The voice of an angry cascade. termed the Nurse of Rorie Mhor. Such a castle. I might be supposed interested. but the mind is not at all times equally ready to be moved. in which I hoped to make amends for some nights on ship-board. an covered with foam the steep piles of rock. the most engaging spectacle was the comfortable bed. and by fits disclosed. An autumnal blast. for on a platform beneath the windows lay an ancient battery of cannon. as a stranger. after the fight is ended. and in such a night seemed no bad representatives of the Norwegian goddesses called Choosers of the Slain. and his horn. but if you looked from the windows the view was such as to correspond with the highest tone of superstition. There was something of the dignity of danger in the scene. which had sometimes been used against privateers even of late years. when the Elfin Sovereign shall. the bloodiest and the last. I took possession of it about the witching hour.” In a word. it is necessary to confess that. was of course furnished with many a tale of tradition. recall her banner. The distant scene was a view of that part of the Quillan mountains which are called. to fill occasional intervals in the music and song. We reviewed the arms and ancient valuables of this distinguished family — saw the dirk and broadsword of Rorie Mhor. which would drench three chiefs of these degenerate days. Radcliffe. that magic flag which has been victorious in two pitched fields. which it occasionally concealed. “ I looked around me. as proper to the halls of Dunvegan as when Johnson commemorated them. about which. Indeed. nor the fairy banner given to Macleod by the Queen of Fairies. have obtained the name of Macleod's Maidens. and where I slept accordingly thinking of ghost or goblin till I was called by my servant in the morning. Except perhaps some tapestry hangings. From this I am taught to infer that tales of ghosts and demonology are out of date at forty years and upwards. and the extreme thickness of the walls. was heard from time mingling its notes with those of wind and wave. Macleod's Dining-Tables.difficult. The solemn drinking-cup of the Kings of Alan must not be forgotten. rising from the sea in forms something resembling the human figure. or Riders of the Storm. that it is only in the morning of life that this feeling of superstition ” comes .

Those who are disposed to look for them may. however. The sailors have a proverb that every man in his lifetime must eat a peck of impurity. and I am tempted to think that. however. There remains hope. that the grosser faults of our ancestors are now out of date. the sense of humanity is too universally spread to permit them to think of tormenting wretches till they confess what is impossible. and it seems yet more clear that every generation of the human race must swallow a certain measure of nonsense. if I were to write on the subject at all. it should have been during a period of life when I could have treated it with more interesting vivacity. and might have been at least amusing if I could not be instructive. and that whatever follies the present race may be guilty of. without much trouble. as may. and the most ordinary mechanic has learning sufficient to laugh at the figments which in former times were believed by far advanced in the deepest knowledge of the age. I cannot. see such manifest signs. render it no useless occupation to compare the follies of our fathers with our own. and then burning them for their pains.o'er us like a summer cloud.” affecting us with fear which is solemn and awful rather than painful. both of superstition and the disposition to believe in its doctrines. Even the present fashion of the world seems to be ill suited for studies of this fantastic nature. THE END ————————————— . in conscience carry my opinion of my countrymen's good sense so far as to exculpate them entirely from the charge of credulity.

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